A team-by-team look at the National League Central entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:
St. Louis Cardinals
Manager: Mike Matheny (third season).
2013: 97-65, first place, lost World Series to Boston.
Training Town: Jupiter, Fla.
Park: Roger Dean Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 13/18.
He's Here: SS Jhonny Peralta, CF Peter Bourjos, INF Mark Ellis, OF Randall Grichuk, OF Oscar Taveras, RHP Jorge Rondon, assistant batting coach David Bell.
He's Outta Here: OF Carlos Beltran, 3B David Freese, RHP Edward Mujica, RHP Chris Carpenter, RHP Jake Westbrook, OF Adron Chambers, OF Brock Peterson, RHP Fernando Salas, RHP John Axford, INF Ryan Jackson.
Going campin': Coming off their second World Series appearance in three years, the Cardinals didn't require a significant makeover. Peralta fills the biggest void, replacing the light-hitting combination of Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso. The Cardinals love Bourjos' speed on the bases and in the field, and he enters camp as the starting CF ahead of incumbent Jon Jay. The Bourjos trade with the Angels for Freese also created an opening for rookie 2B Kolten Wong, among the team's top prospects, with Matt Carpenter moving to 3B coming off a breakout year. After missing 2013 due to reconstructive elbow surgery, Jason Motte returns to the bullpen as a setup man for closer Trevor Rosenthal. There's a surplus of starting rotation candidates led by 19-game winner Adam Wainwright, second in Cy Young Award balloting. Michael Wacha is coming off an electric finish to his debut season, fellow rookie Shelby Miller won 15 games before getting shut down during the postseason and lefty Jaime Garcia is back from shoulder surgery.
Manager: Clint Hurdle (fourth season).
2013: 94-68, second place, wild card, lost to Cardinals in division series.
Training Town: Bradenton, Fla.
Park: McKechnie Field.
First Workout: Feb. 13/18.
He's Here: RHP Edinson Volquez, C Chris Stewart, OF Jaff Decker, LHP Daniel Schlereth, 1B Travis Ishikawa, OF Chris Dickerson.
He's Outta Here: RHP A.J. Burnett, RF Marlon Byrd, 1B Justin Morneau, 1B-OF Garrett Jones, C Michael McKenry, OF Felix Pie, RHP Kyle Farnsworth.
Going campin': The franchise's first playoff berth in 21 years did little to change Pittsburgh's typically economical approach to free agency. The only major addition came in the form of Volquez, and the Pirates will try to turn him into the 2014 version of Francisco Liriano. Pittsburgh grabbed Liriano on the cheap last winter and he ended up winning 16 games and earning a handful of Cy Young votes. The rest of the signees were depth-related. The loss of Burnett will hurt, though the top of the rotation should be solid behind Liriano and Gerrit Cole, who was remarkable during his rookie season. Volquez is in the mix for the fifth spot, while the bullpen should look much the same as it did last season when Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli provided one of the best setup-closer combinations in baseball. The only real question marks as camp begins remain the ones Pittsburgh faced when last season ended: first base and right field. Gaby Sanchez and Andrew Lambo will likely platoon at first, while Jose Tabata and Travis Snider get one last shot to earn a big league spot in right as highly touted Gregory Polanco gets some needed seasoning with Triple-A Indianapolis. Polanco and former first-round pick Jameson Taillon — who could join the rotation sometime in 2014 — will start camp with the big league club and provide a glimpse of why Pittsburgh decided to double down on its thriving minor league system rather than open up the checkbook for free agents.
Manager: Bryan Price (first season).
2013: 90-72, third place, lost wild-card game to Pirates.
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