The Cardinals' Shelby Miller is not untouchable

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Brian McTaggart, Matthew Leach and Todd Zolecki of MLB.com confirm and add some more detail to my report from last night about the Cardinals’ interest in Roy Oswalt. Specifically regarding what the Cardinals may have to give up in order to get him:

The Cards’ most compelling potential trading chip for most teams would
seem to be 2009 first-round Draft pick Shelby Miller, a right-hander who
has been on a roll lately at low Class A Quad Cities. Farm director
Jeff Luhnow was given the opportunity on Wednesday to classify Miller as
untouchable, but declined to do so. He said the right-hander quite
surely would not be moved for a two-month rental player, but that for a
longer-term upgrade, any and all prospects could conceivably be in play.

There was a lot of back and forth in the Twitterverse last night about whether getting Roy Oswalt is worth Shelby Miller, especially if the Astros aren’t picking up any salary.  My take on it is this:  By the time Miller is ready to be a front line starter in the major leagues, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday will be at or near an end and the Cardinals’ best chance to win a World Series — now — is likely gone.  Oswalt for Miller is definitely a “win-now” move, but the Cardinals are a team that has no choice but to be on a “win-now” footing.

It’s a lot of money to take on, no question, and it’s always hard to give up a top pick. But the best reasonable scenario for Shelby Miller is that he becomes another Roy Oswalt, right? At the outside? And that’s several years from now.  I pass up that bird in the bush if it means making the playoffs for the next two or three years with Albert Pujols in his prime and a rotation of Carpenter-Wainwright-Oswalt-Garcia, don’t you?

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves