With the Winter Meetings in the rearview mirror, the action hasn't been as fast or furious this week in the NL Central. Still, there's a lot going on -- let's catch up with the week that was:
- At CSNChicago.com, David Kaplan writes that he's hearing that the Cubs will embark on a "full scale house cleaning" this offseason, and he says that Prince Fielder doesn't fit into those plans.
- This move would seem to confirm what Kaplan's hearing: word is that the Cubs have agreed to send left-handed reliever Sean Marshall -- who's been excellent in the last two years but is owed $3.1 million this season -- to the Reds for lefty Travis Wood. The deal is expected to be announced today -- update: it's official now -- after both players pass their physicals.
- Chicago is buying low on reliever Manny Corpas, who was very good for Colorado for a couple years before he blew out his elbow and missed the entire 2011 season.
- The only other move the Cubs made this week was bringing back reserve outfielder Reed Johnson on a one-year deal, a decision that FanGraphs says has grinders everywhere rejoicing.
- The Reds made the splash of the offseason in the NL Central, shipping four players -- including potential star Yonder Alonso -- to San Diego for right-hander Mat Latos. At MLB.com, Lyle Spencer writes that the high-risk move is one that Cincinnati had to make.
- The Reds are getting some help in the 'pen with the addition of Marshall, but even though Marshall was outstanding last year in Chicago, sources tell Cincinnati.com's John Fay that the Reds won't use Marshall to close games in 2012.
- Does that leave the door open for the possible return of Francisco Cordero? The Red Sox apparently aren't willing to cough up the kind of cash CoCo is looking for, and the market for Cordero's services appears to be dwindling.
- Having dealt closer Mark Melancon to the Red Sox, the Astros find themselves without a closer entering the 2012 season, but they're in no rush to remedy that particular issue: the team will wait until Spring Training to figure out who will get the ball in the ninth inning.
- Utility infielder Brian Bixler was designed for assignment last week to make room on the 40-man roster for the players Houston received in the Melancon trade, but Bixler cleared waivers and he's agreed to report to AAA Oklahoma City.
- The Bucs signed a few players to minor-league deals this week: right-hander (and former Met) Ryota Igarashi and first baseman Jeff Clement (who's been in the Pittsburgh system for years but has seen his career derailed by injuries) both got invites to Spring Training with their contracts.
- The Pirates also inked infielder Anderson Hernandez, who spent 2011 playing for the Astros' AAA affiliate, to a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
- The Cardinals were named Baseball America's Organization of the Year for 2011, in part because of their impressive/frustrating (depending on your perspective) ability to strike gold with free agents who are seemingly over the hill. Like signing Carlos Beltran for two years and $26 million to take over in right field? you say. Yes. Yes, exactly like that.
- At MLB.com, Richard Justice writes that signing Beltran is the perfect move for St. Louis: the Redbirds obviously can't replace the production of Albert Pujols with one player, but the tag team of Lance Berkman and Beltran (who had a higher OBP and OPS than Pujols last season) might come close.
- At SBNation St. Louis, Dan Moore writes that the Cardinals are going about things the right way this offseason: with the heavy price teams are paying to trade for starting pitching, the Cards have opted to hold onto their prospects while using free agency to fill their holes.