Here’s the latest from the National League Central:
- Pirates manager Derek Shelton expects recently signed right-hander Trevor Cahill to break camp with the team, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic relays. “I don’t plan on him staying behind in Florida,” Shelton said of Cahill, whom the Pirates inked to a one-year, $1.5MM guarantee earlier this month. The Pirates aren’t yet sure which role Cahill will fill when the season starts, though. The well-traveled 33-year-old has amassed 225 starts in 352 appearances, and he’s coming off a season divided between starting and relieving with the Giants. Cahill wound up with 26 innings of 3.24 ERA ball and posted an excellent 29.2 percent strikeout rate, but he also walked 13.2 percent of the batters he faced, recorded a 4.38 SIERA and logged a personal-worst 33.3 percent groundball rate.
- John Nogowski has made himself a surprising candidate for a roster spot in Jupiter with the Cardinals, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The 28-year-old first baseman has an uphill climb ahead of him even after hitting .391/.533/.522 in 30 plate appearances this spring. Thanks to his limited defensive utility, however, there may not be an avenue for the Florida native to make the roster. The Cardinals would basically have to resolve themselves to keeping a roster spot solely for pinch-hitting duties. With Paul Goldschmidt set at first and Matt Carpenter also on the roster, Nogowski wouldn’t even necessarily be the first left-handed bat off the bench. Because of the injuries in the rotation, the Cardinals could choose to go with a four-man bench to help fill the innings, deepening the need for versatility from their bench bats. Also working against Nogowski is that he has two option years remaining, whereas Justin Williams, another left-handed bat, has none. If Carpenter, Williams, and backup catcher Andrew Knizner all make the roster, the Cardinals will still need someone capable of backing up Paul DeJong at shortstop. Tommy Edman would be the backup shortstop if another infielder is not added to the Opening Day roster.
- The Reds are considering using Tejay Antone as a multi-inning option out of the bullpen, writes C.Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. Whenever he pitches, the Reds are going to lean on Antone. They don’t expect to get as much length out of their starters as they had in 2020, feeding the thinking that Antone might be most impactful as an innings eater out of the bullpen. Pitching coach Derek Johnson stressed the importance of the bullpen, saying:“I don’t look for our starters to necessarily go out and give us six or seven every time. I think it’d great when and if they do, and that’ll be a bonus, but I do think our games — like they have in the last couple of years — they have been won or lost, a lot of times, in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth inning. Our bullpen has to be solid if we’re going to have a chance.” Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims, two of their prime bullpen arms, have been slow in making their spring debuts, which could also play a part in the Reds’ using Antone in relief.
- As long as he’s healthy, Daniel Robertson appears to be a sure bet to earn a roster spot with the Brewers as a utility player, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Robertson, who doesn’t have any minor league options remaining and was out the past couple of days because of a knee issue, returned to Milwaukee’s lineup Monday. The ex-Ray and Giant signed a one-year, $900K deal with the Brewers in free agency.