A bulging disc has prevented Carpenter from normal workouts. He did play catch yesterday.(Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE)

NL Central Links: Travis Wood, the Astros Move and More!

Been a while since I filled you in on a few blurbs from our FanSided cohorts. I find it interesting (to say the least) that we can find out a lot about the other teams within the division by read a post or two. Sometimes we become so focused on our beloved Redlegs that we tend to forget there are other teams in which we will vie for the division crown.

That doesn’t always lead to positive vibes, I know, but knowing what’s going on within those realms could deter us from pondering why the Reds pitching staff has a spring ERA over 6…and as Tyler pointed out today, overreact.

Here’s what we’re looking at…

I bet you’re wondering about former Red Travis Wood. Cubbies Crib Senior Editor Jordan Campbell has an excellent look at the lefty. When the deal was made for the Reds to acquire Sean Marshall, there was some disdain from the Reds fan base because Wood was just so darn likable. He had his shares of ups and downs, but you would never know it due to his usual stoic facade.

As Jordan points out, Wood is in a battle for a starting rotation spot, but he has a lot of company. That’s a familiar refrain that we saw the last two seasons. Jordan also points out that Wood may not begin 2012 in Chicago…

Wood’s role with the Cubs in 2012 is still uncertain. At this point, it would seem that Wood is seemingly behind both (Chris) Volstad and (Jeff) Samardzija in the competition for the final two spots in the Cubs’ starting rotation. Wood still has an option left in his contract so it is possible that the pitcher could start the season with the Iowa Cubs.

Wood is a hard guy to root against, but, again, the deck may be stacked against him. Having a new manager in Dale Sveum may aid him in a shot to don a (Chicago) Cubs uni come Opening Day.

One thing that has always bugged me was the move sending the Houston Astros to the AL West. From my point of view, new owner Jim Crane had little choice as I sincerely believe this was a caveat to him being approved for ownership. I don’t think I’m alone on that stance either.

Greg Thurston, Senior Editor for Climbing Tal’s Hill, took notice that MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner made an appearance at Astros camp yesterday. But the Astros move was not the topic on which Greg seemed the most bent (and Weiner’s comments for that matter). It was a topic we chatted about some time back, the DH.

Weiner was asked about the topic of the DH and his reply was “who knows what’s going to happen down the road?” Well, Greg didn’t particularly care for this evasive response and offers his take…

Weiner managed to keep his agenda hidden- as everyone should know that the union would love nothing more than a blanket DH rule. Just like any other union they want higher wages for less work and the DH rule fits that description to a tee. Don’t let them fool you. The union has a tremendous amount of power and they WILL push for and get a blanket DH rule in the near future.

What I do like about Greg’s view isn’t so much his take on unions as a whole, but how influential the MLBPA is. I think every so often, that fact does not receive its proper due. I’m not a fan of the DH, but I also recognize that having constant inter-league games will inevitably lead that direction.

Remember when BRM voted for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance’s NL Reliever of the Year? The Goose Gossage Award is annually presented to each league’s best reliever and BRM selected Milwaukee’s John Axford as its choice. The honor went to Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel, and that still doesn’t sit well with me.

Anyway, Reviewing the Brew’s Staff Writer Benjamin Orr provides us with five facts we may not all be aware of when it comes to “The Ax-Man” aka John Axford. Some Reds fans may be familiar with this fact: the Reds selected Axford in the 42nd round of the 2005 June Amateur Draft.

But upon reading Benjamin’s whole post, of the five facts that struck me as the oddest was this: he was once a cell phone salesman.

After his release from the Yankees, Axford sold cell phones for a telecommunication company through Wal-Mart and Best Buy in his hometown. He struggled and only made $8 and hour.

I think he makes a little more now.

I have always touted FanSided’s Pirates coverage over on Rum Bunter. In a quick statement, I believe it is one of the most entertaining blogs out there…period. Not just on FanSided. Anywhere.

Jon Anderson, Rum Bunter Staff Writer, uncovered (with help from an e-mail) that there may be a curse on certain Pirates players…

…if you wear the number 24.

That’s all I’m saying. This is a must read!

Are you over the Cardinals winning the World Series last year? I’m not either.

Here’s something to think about when you ponder about the 2012 Cardinals. The most difficult of hurdles for the Cards to overcome in 2012 may not be the Brewers or the Reds. It may be themselves. I don’t say that because of the proverbial letdown a team can feel after accomplishing a feat no one (except the team and their fans) ever dreamed was possible. No, I’m referring to Father Time.

Since Chris Carelli jumped on board as the Senior Editor of Redbird Rants, I have thoroughly enjoyed his writing. He authored a letter to his readers and the topic is about the aging veterans. It’s a fact that cannot be avoided. There have been references made here to that, but some may think it’s because BRM is a Reds blog and for no other reason than to show dislike of the Cards.

Well, I think we’ve bounced that out of the water when one of their own makes the same decree, and in usual fashion, Chris delivers. He points out that spring may not present ample opportunity to get ready for the season due to age and potential injury. Then came the calling card for the whole post…

The Cardinals are not a young team. There are several players in their low-to-upper thirties on the team. These are not role players, but important cogs in the machine. Coming into the season, the biggest question mark in my mind was how the Cardinals would handle situations with these players when they undoubtedly suffer an injury.

This “letter” details certain players and their importance and how new skipper Mike Matheny has played guys in other positions to see their versatility. We’ve already seen that Chris Carpenter is on the mend from a bulging disc. Carp is to be the Opening Day starter for the Redbirds, a role that may be in a bit of jeopardy at this point.

Chris answers his own question. The answer?


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Tags: Baseball Chicago Cubs Houston Astros John Axford Milwaukee Brewers MLB Pittsburgh Pirates St Louis Cardinals Travis Wood

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