MLB Rumors: St. Louis Cardinals

Cards finished making moves? 

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
12:28
PM ET
With the signing of Mark Reynolds to a one-year contract last week, the St. Louis Cardinals feel like they've made all the moves that they need to make before the start of the 2015 season. However, that doesn't mean their starting rotation is definitively etched in stone.

What We're Tracking 

December, 8, 2014
Dec 8
8:14
AM ET
The baseball world has gathered in San Diego for what should be a few days of frenzied activity – assuming Jon Lester makes up his mind.

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Cardinals to be patient on SP? 

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7
12:15
PM ET
The St. Louis Cardinals made some noise in November by trading with the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Jason Heyward, But now that December is in full swing, there may not be as much urgency for the team to continue to make headlines with more big moves.

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Cards unlikely to land Lester, Scherzer? 

November, 28, 2014
Nov 28
11:37
AM ET
Ten days ago, ESPN.com's Jim Bowden reported that the St. Louis Cardinals "had joined the Red Sox, Cubs and Braves" in pursuit of free agent Jon Lester. However, that doesn't mean the Cardinals are going to get caught up in a bidding war for the pitcher.

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New leadoff hitter in St. Louis? 

November, 15, 2014
Nov 15
9:47
AM ET
Matt Carpenter has been a two-time All-Star while serving as the St. Louis Cardinals' leadoff hitter, but it is not a guarantee he will remain atop the order.

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Cards' focus to be on bullpen? 

November, 4, 2014
Nov 4
10:03
AM ET
There seems to be an abundance of starting pitchers on the free-agent market this offseason, but while the St. Louis Cardinals expect to be active in the pursuit of adding some arms to their staff, their focus is going to be on the bullpen rather than the rotation.

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NL Central Hot Stove preview, by team 

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
1:18
PM ET
The World Series is officially over, which means all 30 major league teams are ready to look ahead to 2015 in hopes that they might be the ones holding the championship trophy next year at this time. Free agency doesn't officially kick in until five days from now, but the rumor mill is already buzzing with potential moves that might help those clubs who were watching on television this year become the center of attention next October.

Our snapshot of each of the six MLB divisions and what teams might have in the works this offseason continues today with a look at the National League Central.


Chicago Cubs

Big decisions: The biggest one -- who will manage this team? -- seems to be out of the way, as it seems the team's hiring of Joe Maddon is inevitable. As ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers notes, "It comes down to this: The Cubs can pay Maddon, have no deep ties to their current manager, who isn't a former player with the club or an up-and-comer such as Brad Ausmus or Matt Williams. The Cubs didn't finish above .500 like Seattle and even Milwaukee. In short, it's an easy decision to make, if it can get done."

Team needs: In terms of player makeup, as Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune notes, the Cubs are "intent to strike quickly with free-agent players … [and will] seek to add impact pitching as well as catching and a left-handed-hitting outfielder." … Once Maddon is in town, it might not be hard to imagine James Shields being willing to entertain a reunion with his former manager, and as Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes, "nobody is hungrier for the kind of reliability, durability and quality that Shields brings than the Cubs."

Early buzz: With a glut of middle infielders to sift through and a ton of prospects on the verge of being ready for the major leagues, ESPN.com's Jim Bowden thinks that the Cubs "not only [have] a lethal group of position players coming to join Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Starlin Castro, but also enough top prospects to make deals for pitchers, such as Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto, if they decide to go that route." … Torii Hunter could provide the Cubs with a veteran presence in the clubhouse that would be welcome for what projects to be a very young lineup.


Cincinnati Reds

Big decisions: The Reds have four starting pitchers who are scheduled to become free agents after the 2015 season. They're unlikely to sign the entire quartet to extensions, so in order to maximize return, they'll have to decide if they want to deal away Cueto this winter. Picking up his 2015 option doesn't remove that possibility.

Team needs: Offense was a problem for the Reds last season, particularly in left field, which, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, "was the most-shared position on the club" in 2014, with seven players starting there. Fay correctly predicted that Ryan Ludwick's contract would be bought out, leaving the door open for a change, most likely achieved through trade.

Early buzz: Talk that the Boston Red Sox, a team that could use some pitching help, might be looking to deal away Yoenis Cespedes makes it possible that the Reds explore that possibility. … Because of his high salary and the potential to promote either Jesse Winker or Kyle Waldrop, Jay Bruce has been named as a trade possibility. ESPN.com's Mark Simon suggests the New York Mets might be willing to "[buy] low on someone who has two years (with an option) and more than $25 million left on his contract."


Milwaukee Brewers

Big decisions: When it comes to 2015 roster decisions, the most pressing decision is at third base, with Aramis Ramirez and the team holding a mutual 2015 option for $14 million. It could go either way, but the team's recent claim of Luis Jimenez from the Los Angeles Angels certainly was made in order to give the Brewers at least one alternative should things not work out.

Team needs: Assuming Ramirez does return and the Brewers don't need to explore options such as Pablo Sandoval, their primary focus likely will be in the bullpen. Tom Gorzelanny, Francisco Rodriguez and Zach Duke are all headed for free agency. While top-tier options might be in short supply, adding an arm from a tier that includes Chris Perez, Jason Motte and Jim Johnson may end up being the path this team chooses to travel. … With Lyle Overbay looking likely to retire and free agent Mark Reynolds having not quite lived up to expectations in his half of the 2014 platoon at first base, an upgrade in the form of Adam LaRoche or Michael Cuddyer is clearly in order.

Early buzz: Toward the end of the season, there was some discussion that Ryan Braun could potentially be moved to first base in 2015, which would allow Milwaukee to start Khris Davis, Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra in the outfield on a regular basis, and also let the team devote free-agent dollars to the pitching staff. If Ramirez does end up getting a big contract to stay, there might not be enough extra cash lying around to prevent that experiment from becoming a necessity.


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Cards to use young arms in pen? 

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
10:19
AM ET
The St. Louis Cardinals seem fairly confident in their returning rotation for next season, which is why some of their younger pitchers who project to be starters at some point down the road may end up pitching out of the bullpen in 2015, rather than biding their time in a Triple-A rotation.

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Lynn set for big payday? 

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
12:16
PM ET
After two consecutive seasons of 15 wins and 200-plus innings pitched, the St. Louis Cardinals are getting used to having Lance Lynn around. That's why it shouldn't be a surprise to learn that the team is taking steps to ensure his presence on the mound for many years to come.

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What will Cards rotation be in 2015? 

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17
10:06
AM ET
The debate as to whether or not St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny made the right call in summoning Michael Wacha to pitch in what turned out to be the final inning of the NLCS on Thursday will likely continue for quite some time. However, looking ahead to 2015, the bigger question is whether or not Wacha will be in the Cardinals rotation.

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Taveras no longer untouchable in STL? 

October, 13, 2014
Oct 13
8:10
AM ET
Oscar Taveras has yet to see his name in the St. Louis Cardinals' starting lineup this October, but the rookie outfielder made his mark in the NLCS as a pinch-hitter Sunday night, connecting for a seventh-inning homer off the Giants' Jean Machi.

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Could Peavy pitch for Cards in 2015? 

October, 12, 2014
Oct 12
10:05
AM ET
When Game 2 of the NLCS gets underway on Sunday night, it will be Jake Peavy on the mound for the San Francisco Giants as they attempt to take a two-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. It's a long way off to be sure, but if these two teams were to meet again in the 2015 playoffs, could Peavy be pitching for the other side?

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Wacha's role still uncertain 

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
1:47
PM ET
The St. Louis Cardinals got five starts from Michael Wacha during their 2013 run to the World Series. Although the team would love to see a repeat performance from the pitcher in this year's playoffs, there's still too much uncertainty surrounding his recovery to know for certain if that remains possible.

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Wacha to the bullpen? 

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
9:08
AM ET
The St. Louis Cardinals decided to skip Michael Wacha's turn in the rotation after the righthander struggled with his command in his first two starts back from a shoulder injury.

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Cards looking to add RP? 

September, 7, 2014
Sep 7
9:41
AM ET
The St. Louis Cardinals may still be looking to add a little more depth to their bullpen for the stretch drive, and one of the arms they may end up relying on to get that key September strikeout could be a pitcher who would otherwise be headed for the Arizona Fall League.

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