Some rumblings from around the NL Central…
- The Cardinals were linked to Rays closer Alex Colome in trade rumors earlier this winter, though two sources tell Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the team’s interest in Colome was “overstated.” Chris Archer seems to be the Cards’ top target in regards to trade talks with the Rays.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told Goold and other reporters that he is still “kicking tires” on some other bullpen options but he is overall comfortable going into the season with Luke Gregerson as the top closer option. This could be some gamesmanship on Mozeliak’s part given that St. Louis has been exploring several relief options both before and after they signed Gregerson, though Gregerson collected 31 saves as recently as 2015 when he pitched for Houston. In terms of other available relievers, the Cardinals have “at most, tempered” interest in Greg Holland. Beyond the veteran Gregerson, the Cards also have several young arms in the pen and in the upper minors that could eventually factor into the ninth-inning mix. Goold notes that hard-throwing righty prospect Jordan Hicks has drawn trade interest from other teams.
- Now that Gerrit Cole has been traded, teams who have talked deals with the Pirates believe that the Bucs could now be more open to moving Andrew McCutchen, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick writes (Twitter links). Pittsburgh has had “ongoing dialogue” about McCutchen with multiple teams, including the Giants. One potential side effect of increased trade talks involving McCutchen (and the Marlins’ Christian Yelich) is that it could extend the lack of activity on the free agent outfielder front.
- If the Pirates did deal McCutchen, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Twitter links) isn’t sure how much the Bucs could get back, based on the relatively lacking returns other teams have recently gotten in trades for players in their final year before free agency. Olney opines that the Pirates could get more young talent back in a trade by offering to cover some of the $14.75MM owed to McCutchen in 2018.
- It doesn’t appear as though Joe Maddon and the Cubs have any talks about an extension, though the manager said during this weekend’s Cubs Convention (as reported by The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney) that he doesn’t “ever try to strike up those kind of conversations….I believe if we take care of our own business properly, that’s the kind of stuff that takes care of itself. I’ve always relied on that thought. So I’m not concerned about that. I am a Cub right now. And I want to be a Cub for many years to come.” Maddon is under contract through the 2019 season, so there isn’t any immediate need for either side to press for extension negotiations already. Maddon’s comments also make it seem as if he has no plans to retire anytime soon, which is notable given that he turns 64 next month.