NL Central Offseason

Cincinnati makes a creative trade; Cubs deny Fielder rumors, and the ugly stepchildren of the National League Central division.

The Cincinnati Reds bolstered their starting rotation in a trade with San Diego. Cincinnati acquired SP Mat Latos in exchange for Yonder Alonso and Edinson Volquez. Latos, 24, has accumulated a 3.21 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and a 43.7% groundball rate in two seasons for SD. He will pair nicely with Johnny Cueto atop the Reds’ rotation.

English: Pitcher Mat Latos of the San Diego Pa...

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Losing Yonder Alonso is a big risk. Alonso has raw power. A September call up, Alonso hit .330 and slugged .545.

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 28:  Yonder Alonso #23...

Like the Pujols sweep steaks, I am not buying the Cubs’ interest in Prince Fielder. Their payroll is already over $100 million. How bad is that. They won 71 games and the payroll was the 6th highest in MLB in 2011. New manager Dale Sveum says a lot of the talk is media induced. Natural for Chicago. Hey, at least they have Dave McKay to coach first base. Watch out for those steroids.

Milwaukee has had an unpleasant off-season. Fielder is gone, MVP Ryan Braun is facing a 50-game suspension, and they don’t have any money. Milwaukee signed shortstop Alex Gonzalez to a one-year deal. Gonzalez has some pop (15 homeruns) but strikes out a ton (126).

Remember the Pirates’ flash in the pan last season? They got fancy and acquired Derek Lee and Ryan Ludwick in an attempt to make a postseason run. Both players are gone. They overpaid for SS Clint Barmes, signed CF Nate McLouth for a second go, and took a waiver on LHP Erik Bedard. Pittsburgh also acquired 3B Casey McGehee from the Brewers.

Houston is starting over, again. New owner, new general manager (Jeff Luhnow, former STL VP of player development), and a bleak roster that only won 56 games. Somehow manager Brad Mills kept his job despite 2 miserable seasons. Luhnow acquired Jed Lowrie from the Red Sox to shore up the middle infield. They need to shore up their pitching if they want to win more than 56 games.

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