No team will fret over having too much in the way of talent, but Phil Rogers of MLB.com wonders if the Cubs’ depth could stifle the growth of Javier Baez and Jorge Soler. In the case of Baez, manager Joe Maddon believes that he can get enough work in as a utility player. Overall, Maddon is grateful to have such strong insurance against injuries.
“It’s obvious just by making the daily lineups now,” he said on Sunday. “When you give guys a day off playing but the team that goes to play that day is pretty thick still. That’s what has hit home with me. … The depth is really intriguing. You need that to be successful during the course of a long season. You’re going to have things happen. No question.”
Here’s more out of the NL Central:
- Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette took on the tough task of predicting the Pirates’ Opening Day roster. His projections do not include outfielder Matt Joyce, who was brought in on a minor-league deal this offseason. Nesbitt’s writes that his projections could be thrown off by a few factors, including the possibility that Michael Morse is moved in anticipation of Jung Ho Kang’s return.
- Brewers left-hander Sean Nolin won’t be ready for Opening Day and that could have roster implications for Milwaukee, as Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel writes. As Nolin deals with his elbow issue, only two lefties – Chris Capuano and Franklin Morales – are left vying for spots and both were brought in on minor league deals. Those two southpaws plus reliever Blaine Boyer have opt out clauses in their contracts that could spring them from their deals before Opening Day.
- Nolin is out-of-options, but his elbow issue likely will buy the Brewers time in making a decision on him, Haudricourt tweets. Nolin is likely destined for the DL.
- J.J. Hoover is likely to be the Reds’ closer and manager Bryan Price says he would “definitely” be the choice if the season started now, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com writes. Hoover, who won his arbitration case against the Reds this offseason, could help his arb case next offseason if he can rack up saves.