At this writing, there seem to be a lot of NL Central Players on the move. In fact, teams in the NL Central appears to be trying to see who can move players the fastest. This is not the normal way things are done in the offseason.
NL Central Players Moving: Who?
Who are the NL Central players who are on the move? Who knows, the list may be growing at this very moment. While the list is long and growing longer, here are a few of those who are packing their bags.
NL Central Players Already Gone
Yu Darvish was traded by the Chicago Cubs, along with catcher Victor Caratini, to the San Diego Padres. Darvish finished second in the NL Cy Young voting in 2020. Caratini is a solid, switch-hitting catcher who has played well for the Cubs.
Josh Bell was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Washington Nationals. While the Pirates have been a doormat in the Central for a while, trading away your franchise slugger doesn"t seem to make a lot of sense. Bell should fit right in with the Nationals as they seek to return their championship form of 2019.
The Cincinnati Reds traded closer Raisel Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels to begin their offseason. The Reds also sat by as right-hander Anthony DeSclafani signed a free-agent deal with the San Francisco Giants. To complete the pitching hat trick, the Reds non-tendered right-hander Archie Bradley.
NL Central Players Likely Moving
Aside from those already shipped out of the NL Central, there are a good number of players reportedly heading out of the division. The biggest name among those may well be Trevor Bauer. He figures to be too expensive for the downsizing Reds. So he will likely be moving soon.
The Reds may also be discussing deals for right-hander Luis Castillo. There could be even more moves though. How about trading top hitter Mike Moustakas and/or Eugenio Suarez? Maybe the Reds should consider buying stock in UHaul.
Cubs" stars Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras have each been the subject of intense trade rumors. Bryant, the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year, and 2016 MVP is in the last year of his contract, which may lessen his trade value. Contreras is an excellent all-around catcher who should attract a good return for the Cubs.
Speaking of the Cubs, how about Kyle Schwarber and Jon Lester? The two stars of the 2016 championship team are free-agents with nowhere to go. While each could end up back on the North Side, it is highly unlikely that either will.
Meanwhile, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright are still looking for homes for 2021. The Cardinals" pair of stars played out their contracts, and have yet to reach a deal with the team, or anybody else. The Cardinals are also waiting on free-agent 2nd baseman Kolten Wong to decide on a potential new home. He could be the next NL Central players calling for a moving van. The hits just keep on coming.
After trading away Bell, the question is who do the Pirates have left to trade? Well, right-hander, Joe Musgrove is apparently on the trading block. He may well be one of the next NL Central players to move. He would have a lot of company.
Let"s not forget the Milwaukee Brewers, who have been conspicuous by their absence from the Hot Stove League so far. The only name mentioned so far has been standout lefty reliever, Josh Hader. The latest trade rumor involving Hader mentions the Mets, who seem to be in on everybody. Thus far, Hader stays put, but he is surely a candidate to be one of the NL Central players on the move.
NL Central Players Moving: Why?
One can"t help but wonder why, after placing four teams in the playoffs, so many NL Central players are changing addresses. This strikes many as odd, to say the least, especially those who suggested that the division was on the rise. Why are all these players heading out of the division?
NL Central Players Moving: Economics?
It may simply be that the current economics of baseball are dictating the moves. All baseball fans are painfully aware of how the coronavirus has affected baseball financially. So, the money angle would seem to make sense. Additionally, with the new CBA looming, the economics may well turn again.
NL Central Players Moving: Timing?
Then again, why are these teams shedding players while others, like the Mets, are in acquisition mode? It is possible that this is all just a case of timing. that each team has made the decision to start to rebuild, to some degree? Maybe, but all five teams rebuilding at the same time? Strange timing, to say the least.
NL Central Players Moving: Maybe No Big Deal
Or, perhaps, every one of the players who have not signed or been traded will return to the NL Central. That would indicate a sense of normalcy, and all would be right with the world. Yet, this seems as unlikely as a blizzard in Arizona. Okay, make that in Southern Arizona.
NL Central Players Moving: Final Thoughts
In any event, there seems to be an inordinate amount of players set to leave the NL Central. They represent future Hall of Famers, All-Stars, MVP"s and solid players. At this point, there has been no wave of MLB players to replace them. Unless something changes, life may be rough for the NL Central for the next few years.
Fans of NL Central teams better hope the exodus from the division does not mirror the migration from the state of Illinois for very long. That would be a disturbing trend, to be sure, and fans would likely rebel. Hopefully, these NL Central teams will all be able to field 25-man rosters in time for Opening Day.
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