Spring Notes: Another Case Of Trading Spaces?

In 2023 the National League Central completely owned by the Milwaukee Brewers. Then in November just over one month after the regular season ended the Chicago Cubs made headlines bringing Craig Counsell south the Wrigleyville. Let’s take a look at the all the teams are after a slow off season around the league that has many free agents still looking for a home on opening day.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers were very busy this offseason after losing their manager unexpectedly to their rivals 90 miles south. They made seven trades and signed eight free agents. Let’s take a look at the players they brought in that made their opening day roster today.

Let’s look at their batting lineup first. The only hole they had was at first. So they signed First Baseman Ryhs Hoskins and traded to bring in his backup Jake Bauers. They also signed William Contreras’ backup Gary Sanchez from free agency and backup Second Baseman Joseph Ortiz. ]

Now let’s look at the pitchers they added. They traded for three relievers: DL Hall, who made the opening day roster as the third man in their starting rotation, Taylor Clarke, and Bryan Hudson. They also signed three pitchers: Starters Colin Rea and Wade Miley as well as Relief Pitcher Jake Junis who made the roster as their number five starter.

Some think that Milwaukee is going to end up finishing third in the Central. However, I think there is a small chance they trade places with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Chicago Cubs

After bringing Counsell to Wrigleyville Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins were very quiet this winter. They brought in three pitchers all of whom were listed as relievers going into spring training. They signed Setup man Hector Neris, possible seventh inning man Yency Almonte, and Shota Imanaga out of Japan who made the rotation as the third starter.

After staying very quiet in the offseason the Cubs are expected to finish in second again. The difference though is this year they are expected to make the playoffs as a wild card team.

Cincinnati Reds

After finishing in third last season Cincinnati was busy rebuilding their pitching staff this winter. They added five pitchers and former Cubs minor leaguer Jeimer Candelario.  They signed seven pitchers only five made the opening day roster. While all of them are relievers… two of them made the starting rotation. So, let’s take a quick look at the roles these five guys will play.

Nick Martinez made the team as their number five starter. Emilio Pagan made the team as their setup man. Frankie Montas as their number one starter. Justin Wilson and Brent Suter as setup men.

In the middle of a rebuild the Reds are expected to finish this season right where they ended 2023… in third place.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The young Pirates were also very busy in the offseason signing seven guys and trading for two others. Let’s take a look at the ones who made their opening day roster today.

They brought in four pitchers. Two who will be starters: Martin Perez and Marco Gonzoles who are starting the season as the number two and five starters in the rotation. The other two are: Aroldis Chapman who will be their setup man and Josh Fleming.

The Pirates also brought in starting Catcher Yasmani Grandal, starting First Baseman Rowdy Tallez, and starting center fielder Michael Taylor.

Pittsburgh is expected to finish standing last in the NL Central.

St. Louis Cardinals

After losing Yadier Molina to retirement following the 2022 season the Cardinals were basement dwellers in 2023. This was not completely a result of losing their starting catcher. However, that did play a big role. They were busy this past winter filling holes big and small in their lineup and on their pitching staff. Let’s take a look at the players they added who made the opening day roster.

St. Louis traded for two relief pitchers: Riley O’Brien and their new setup man Andrew Kittredge. They also signed free agent Relief Pitcher Keynan Middleton. While we are looking at their pitching staff it is important to realize they replace three-fifths of their starting rotation in the offseason singing free agent Starting Pitchers Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn. They also shored up their bench signing backup infielder and Designated Hitter Matt Carpenter as well as backup Shortstop Brandon Crawford.

The Cardinals are expected to win twelve to fourteen more games than they did in 2023 for a total of 83 to 85 games and take the division title.

Here’s the thing folks: After stealing Counsell away from Milwaukee it is believed the Cubs and Cardinals will be neck and neck at the top of the division this season. However, what happens at the trade deadline will likely determine which of these teams wins the division.

With that…. it is opening day, let’s see what happens!

If you cannot play with them, then root for them.

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