A look around the Central divisions…
- The Brewers are loaded in the outfield in the wake of this week’s Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich acquisitions, and the club could mitigate the logjam by dealing one of its top trade chips, Domingo Santana. Doing so would presumably allow the Brewers to address their shaky rotation. With that in mind, the Brewers and starter-rich Indians seem like logical trade partners, Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com observes. A deal centering on Santana and Indians righty Danny Salazar would make sense for both clubs, Hoynes opines, and Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com tweets that Milwaukee has shown interest in Salazar this offseason. The hard-throwing Salazar brings the more impressive big league track record of the two players, though age (25 to 28), team control (four years to three) and 2017 performance are all on Santana’s side.
- Milwaukee could also take from its outfield surplus by occasionally playing Ryan Braun at first base. Braun, for his part, is open to giving first a try in spring training, general manager David Stearns told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com and other reporters Friday. The 34-year-old hasn’t lined up in the infield since his rookie year, 2007, when he played 112 games at third base. Nevertheless, with injuries having limited Braun to 104 games last year, spending some time at first could be beneficial to his health, McCalvy notes. The Brewers already have a pair of viable first basemen in Eric Thames and Jesus Aguilar, but it seems a healthy Braun would at least be an offensive upgrade over Aguilar – a fellow righty-swinger whose 2017 production plummeted after the All-Star break.
- Pirates left-hander Nik Turley received an 80-game suspension Saturday after testing positive for Ipamorelin, a performance-enhancing drug. The 28-year-old will go on the restricted list, thus opening up a spot on the Pirates’ 40-man roster (which was at capacity before his ban). Turley is in his first offseason with the Pirates, who claimed him off waivers from the Twins in November. The former Yankees prospect made his big league debut with Minnesota last season and struggled across 10 appearances (11.21 ERA, 6.62 K/9 and 4.08 BB/9 in 17 2/3 innings).