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2020 NL Central Preview

St. Louis Cardinals

Key Additions: Brad Miller

Key Departures: Marcell Ozuna, Michael Wacha, Jose Martinez, Randy Arozarena

The Cardinals lost a major piece in Marcell Ozuna to free agency. They did recoup a high end pitching prospect in Matthew Liberatore from the Rays in exchange for two outfield pieces in Martinez and Arozarena. So this team is mostly intact after winning the Central in 2019. Paul Goldschmidt looks to recover off an up and down season last year. While I’m not sure this team got better after last year, the rest of the division also remained stagnant so I put St. Louis here as a default.

Milwaukee Brewers

Key Additions: Avisail Garcia, Brock Holt, Josh Lindblom, Justin Smoak, Eric Sogard, Luis Urias, Eric Lauer, Omar Narvaez

Key Departures: Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas, Junior Guerra, Jordan Lyles, Travis Shaw, Eric Thames, Zach Davies, Trent Grisham

The Brewers certainly had a lot of turnover this offseason. They still have a top 5 player in Christian Yelich, but Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas are big pieces whose production is tough to recoup. The pitching depth is again a source of concern with Brandon Woodruff, who isn’t much a workhorse innings-wise, leading the rotation. They still are a wild card and even division contender, but not one of the top teams in the NL.

Chicago Cubs

Key Additions: Jason Kipnis, Steven Souza, Jr.

Key Departures: Nicholas Castellanos, Steve Cishek, Cole Hamels, Pedro Strop

The Cubs offseason was dominated by headlines of “will they or won’t they” trade Kris Bryant. The answer for now is they won’t deal him. They did change managers, with Joe Maddon not being brought back in favor of David Ross. How this change will affect the club is anyone’s guess. The moves they did make aren’t too eye catching with Kipnis and Souza both with injury history but decent one year upsides. In a division for the taking, they didn’t do much to try and take it.

Cincinnati Reds

Key Additions: Mike Moustakas, Nicholas Castellanos, Wade Miley, Pedro Strop

Key Departures: Jose Iglesias, Jose Peraza, Alex Wood

One team that did try and take the division is Cincinnati. They signed two big bats to bolster their lineup. A full year of Trevor Bauer alongside Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray should excite Reds fans. They’ve gone from no shot at the division to an outside to decent chance. How all these new pieces mesh will help determine the success of this team, but the effort to win in a winnable division should be applauded.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Key Additions: Guillermo Heredia

Key Departures: Starling Marte, Melky Cabrera, Francisco Liriano

We go from a team trying hard to a team not really trying at all. The Pirates dealt away their most tradable asset in Marte. This team has pieces to build around like Taillon and Bell, but they just haven’t done it. The Pirates are in the unenviable position of being the hallmark team for a franchise that is trading on-field success for profit. At least the Rays and A’s are trying to win with their penny-pinching ways. The Pirates simply are not.

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