MLB Rumors: St. Louis Cardinals

Could Hamels go to Cards? 

January, 25, 2015
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The Philadelphia Phillies have stated that they are not actively shopping Cole Hamels at this time. Nevertheless, the general feeling around the league seems to be that the pitcher could still very well be dealt at some point in the next six months. One team that might be interested is the St. Louis Cardinals.

Cardinals out of SP market? 

January, 18, 2015
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Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals should not be expecting to be cheering on the likes of Max Scherzer, James Shields or Cole Hamels in 2015. At least, that's the message that the organization wants to get across right now, that there aren't going to be any major additions to their starting rotation.

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Could Cardinals nab Scherzer? 

January, 16, 2015
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Lance Lynn, who ranks in the top three among National League pitchers in wins since 2012, agreed to a $22 million, three-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. Could that long-term deal provide the Cardinals with enough cost-certainty to now make a play for Max Scherzer?

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Detroit not to be Scherzer's destination? 

January, 11, 2015
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The Detroit Tigers haven't completely shut the door on the possibility of Max Scherzer coming back to their rotation for 2015 and beyond, but with each passing day, it is looking less and likely for this story to end with a happy reunion of pitcher and team.

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Thursday rumor roundup 

January, 8, 2015
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While there's a train of thought that the San Francisco Giants may yet make a move to acquire another starting pitcher for their 2015 rotation, there's no reason to believe the team won't stick with what they've currently got in the clubhouse to start the season.

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Cards hunting top SP options? 

January, 8, 2015
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The St. Louis Cardinals rotation for 2015 still has a lot of question marks, with Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia coming off of surgeries and Michael Wacha having some shoulder issues of his own. That's why the team may be ready to make a big move to add a little more certainty to their pitching staff.

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Could Walden close for Cards? 

January, 2, 2015
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When the St. Louis Cardinals made their trade with the Atlanta Braves to get outfielder Jason Heyward, they also acquired reliever Jordan Walden as part of the package. Earlier this week, the team came to terms with the pitcher on a $6.6 million, two-year contract that avoided salary arbitration.

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Cards finished making moves? 

December, 16, 2014
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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.

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What We're Tracking 

December, 8, 2014
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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