St. Louis Cardinals: How the Rest of the Central Is Doing

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Pittsburgh Pirates

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals will know nothing about the Pittsburgh Pirates, really, until the season opens, because the Bucs brain trust either does nothing or waits until the last minute to add players at bargain basement rates.

When GM Neil Huntington signed left-handed starter Francisco Liriano back in 2013, for instance, pitchers and catchers were on the verge of reporting. Huntington also has a knack for making the under-the-radar trade that pays off big later on. His trades for utility infielder Sean Rodriguez and catcher Francisco Cervelli last winter turned out to really help them reach the postseason again.

This tells you all you need to know about the Pirates. The biggest buzz about them heading into the Winter Meetings in a few weeks is about which minor leaguers they’ll add to the 40-man to protect them from the Rule-5 draft. Scintillating.

Here’s something, though. They are listening on offers for every player they have who’s a year away from free agency. That includes cement-gloved power hitter Pedro Alvarez, hometown boy Neil Walker, closer Mark Melancon, and Cervelli. says they’re trying to sign Cervelli to a multi-year deal. Everyone else, however, is fair game for the right offer (translation: prospects).

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