Let's check in on the quickly-transforming National League Central, where managers and general manager changes, down-stream trade rumors, and big time free agents like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder will make for an amazing next several weeks:
Prince Fielder Might Actually Return to the Brewers - Jim Bowden
"Prince Fielder has seen so little action that there is a growing sentiment that a return to the Milwaukee Brewers is not out of the realm of possibility. That which seemed so unlikely at season’s end is now seemingly a bona fide consideration. There has been some outside interest, including from the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs."
- The silence around Albert Pujols is deafening -- the Marlins are the only team to have made noise around him. I'm beginning to wonder if Albert won't return to the Cardinals for the exact same reason Fielder could return to the Brewers: the teams with money for these guys don't really need 'em.
Yonder Alonso Trade To The Pirates Unlikely - Bucs Dugout
"...the Pirates can't really trade anything more than Hanrahan, because Alonso projects as a good player, but not a star."
Will something happen [with the Reds] this week? - John Fay
"...but will anything happen as far as current club this week? It’s been a quiet offseason so far. The Reds’ shopping list has grown by one item since it’s very unlikely that Francisco Cordero will return. Here’s the list in order of priority: (1) Top-of-the-rotation starter; (2) Right-handed bat; (3) Closer."
Carlos Marmol Could Be Moved for Trade - chicagotribune.com
"Marmol is one of the few truly attractive bargaining chips for Theo Epstein. He took over a roster with no real surpluses, unless he wants to be real aggressive and deal Geo Soto to create 100-plus starts behind the plate for Welington Castillo."
John Mozeliak's Smart Approach to Building the St. Louis Cardinals Bullpen - Viva El Birdos
"Against the backdrop of the free agent market for relief pitchers this Hot Stove, the Cardinals' approach is both smart and effective. Mozeliak has filled the bullpen with young, hard-throwing relievers who are as cheap as they are effective. A 2011 Opening Day bullpen that was already cheaper than Papelbon will be by himself on Opening Day 2012 has been reduced to a fraction of that cost as Opening Day 2012 approaches. The St. Louis approach to bullpen construction stands in stark juxtaposition to the Philadelphia model."
Cincinnati Center Field Review - Red Reporter
"There are too many holes in Stubbs's swing for a 30 HR season, but 25 could be doable. Similarly, while the speed tantalizes, the strikeouts leave doubt that anything better than a .275 average is possible. He probably never reaches an 800 OPS, but he'll get as close as he ever will next year."