MLB.com released its top 10 first baseman prospects list today, which quickly became the top link on many NL Central team’s home pages. Before the massive turnover at first the past few years, the division was home to a few long-tenured household names: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Derrek Lee, Lance Berkman (former ‘Stro turned Cardinal), and Joey Votto (who is still with the Cincinnati Reds, in fact). This list is a good representation of who might be filling those shoes one day. Teams in the division make up for 3/5 of the list, with the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo at the top. Now, onto the rest of the news from the past few days.
- The Ryan Madson deal is officially done. The closer signed a one year, $8.5M contract with a mutual option for 2013 after former Red Francisco Cordero was unwilling to sign for a single year. Madson is excited to be pitching alongside former Cub Sean Marshall, saying “he’s a great one for the eighth inning.”
- Speaking of closers, Red Bird Rants ponders who would win in arbitration, the St. Louis Cardinals or reliever Jason Motte. Ultimately, the author thinks the two will come to a multi-year agreement.
- Even though the Madson is finally official, the Reds may not be done adding parts yet. Beat reporter Mark Sheldon says the team is looking for an infielder, possibly through trade. The club has also been connected to Ryan Theriot. On the pitching side, Jerry Crasnick tweets the Reds (among others) are interested in Jeff Francis.
- After signing Jack Cust a few days ago, the Houston Astros have agreed to terms with another bounce-back candidate, Chris Snyder. He hit .214 with the Pittsburgh Pirates these past two seasons.
- Ryan Braun is accepting his MVP award tonight, his first public appearance since the drug violation controversy arose late last year. ESPN’s Buster Olney said on his blog that Braun should offer to give up his award. That’s a pretty big, unlikely suggestion. If he is innocent (like he has said), that’s the wrong thing to do – stick to your story and hopefully everything will work out. Although, it would sit better with me if he did this and the allegations turned out to be true.
- Some more positive Brewers notes: Craig Counsell has retired and joined the front office, and the folks at Brew Crew Ball have posted his ‘career in review’. Norichika Aoki, the Crew’s new Japanese outfielder, is taking a significant pay cut to play in Milwaukee, at least in 2012, although his deal could be worth $8.6M if all incentives and options are exercised.
- Since it was announced that Victor Martinez will be out for the season, a number of names have been connected to fill the Detroit Tigers’ DH spot. The aging Astro Carlos Lee is no exception.
- The Cubs’ #1 starting pitcher (according to my last post), Matt Garza, says he wouldn’t be opposed to a contract extension and is on board with the youth movement. Garza is the team’s only unresolved arbitration case.
- According to the man himself, Chicago is Yoenis Cespedes’ top suitor. Tim Souers at Cubby-Blue.com offers a cliff notes version of his latest video. Kevin Goldstein has tweeted that if the Cubs do sign the outfielder, he’d be the best prospect in the system, with “more power/speed/arm” than Brett Jackson. Oh, and plate discipline, too.