For the past few days we’ve been previewing the 2013 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League Central.
The Reds got amazing consistency from their starting pitching and won 97 games. With a revamped outfield, can they maintain that pace?
The Cardinals lost Chris Carpenter and Rafael Furcal. But they have the best farm system in the game and an annoying ability to always, you know, be good. But good enough?
The Pirates haven’t finished over .500 since before a lot of you reading this were born. Is this the year they finally break through?
The Brewers had a frustrating 2012 and a quiet offseason. Is there any reason to expect a bounceback year?
The Cubs have Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer leading a rebuild. How soon can fans in Chicago expect their moves to pay some dividends in the standings?
Below are our team-by-team previews for the NL Central as well as our HBT Extra feature on the division. Enjoy.
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals have signed free agent reliever Neftali Feliz, pending a physical. The Brewers designated Feliz for assignment last week and released him on Monday.
Feliz, 29, opened the season as the Brewers’ closer, but struggled and was eventually taken out of the role in mid-May, giving way to Corey Knebel. In 29 appearances spanning 27 innings with the Brewers, Feliz posted a 6.00 ERA with a 21/15 K/BB ratio.
The Royals have had bullpen issues of their own, so Feliz will try to provide some stability given his track record. It’s not clear yet if the Royals want to let Feliz get his feet wet at Triple-A or throw him right into the bullpen mix.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).