NL Central Notes: Lackey Trade, Robert, Wacha, Happ, Theo

Posted: May 17, 2017 in Uncategorized
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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers a look back at the stunning 2014 trade that the Cardinals pulled off with the Red Sox. While the deadline swap that brought in John Lackey devastated the St. Louis clubhouse at the time — Allen Craig and Joe Kelly went to Boston — it looks quite good for the team in retrospect. Goold explores it from all angles, including those of the players involved, while noting one of the intriguing remaining elements of the deal: Cards outfield prospect Dylan Carlson, who was taken with the comp pick the team added when Lackey turned down a qualifying offer after the 2015 season.

  • The Cardinals aren’t exactly hiding their interest in Cuban prospect Luis Robert, though it’s also still not fully clear just how hard the club will push to sign him. As Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, GM John Mozeliak acknowledges that he had a face-to-face meeting with Robert, but also wasn’t willing to telegraph the team’s direction. “It’s hard for me to characterize exactly how I would position ourselves,” he said, “but I definitely felt like our scouts in our international department have done a good job.” It’s still hard to handicap the running for Robert, who is drawing interest from quite a few teams around the league.
  • Cardinals righty Michael Wacha says it wasn’t his idea to skip a start, as Goold and Hummel write. Rather, it was a team decision to give the resurgent hurler a break, with the organization hoping to keep him fresh over the long haul. Wacha has shown improved velocity and results after struggling through an injury-marred 2016 season. “[A]nything you can bank now is smart,” Mozeliak explained, suggesting that there may not be another opportunity for an extended rest until the All-Star break.
  • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein suggested that the team is open to keeping young outfielder Ian Happ on the MLB roster, as Patrick Mooney of reports on Twitter. “When you call someone up, you always have plans in pencil,” said Epstein. “Nothing’s ever written in ink. He’s feeling great at the plate.” Indeed, the 22-year-old has recorded three hits, including his first home run, in his first two games. If the highly regarded Happ can prove he’s capable of handling major league pitching as it adjusts to him, he could provide a boost to the defending champs.
  • Meanwhile, Epstein tamped down any speculation that the Cubs or others might begin eyeing early trades, as Mooney further reports. Clubs around the league know that there’s still plenty of time for developments to change the calculus in any number of ways. For the Cubs, the current approach is the same as always, Epstein says: “We obviously have to prepare and allocate our scouting resources and whatnot. But it doesn’t make any sense to speculate on the nature of the trade market now, because it will look different in July than it does right now.”


from MLB Trade Rumors


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