Every baseball offseason brings new faces to clubs. Sometimes these moves do not amount to much, but other times these moves help push teams over the top. Here is a look at the biggest addition from each team in the NL Central.
While the Cubs were rumored to be big players in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes, they were outbid by the Yankees. Because the team is still at least a year away from truly competing in the Central, they did not make many major signings. The biggest move that the team made this winter was bringing in closer Jose Veras. Veras has saved 26 games in his career, including his 21 saves from last season. He will look to help stabilize a bullpen finished with the third worst ERA in the National League.
In signing Skip Schumaker this offseason, the Reds have created some much needed depth all around the diamond. The Reds recognized that the former Cardinal could produce and play almost anywhere. He also gives them a solid bat off the bench or a strong defensive replacement late in games.
It took almost the entire offseason for the Brewers to sign a free agent, but when they did it was a huge splash in Matt Garza. While Garza has had some injury concerns in recent seasons, he immediately improves the entire pitching staff. When he is on his game he is a legitimate ace, who has averaged 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings in his career. He helps to make the top end of the rotation stronger this season, and could become the ace if Yovani Gallardo leaves via free agency after the season.
In 2008, Edison Volquez went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. Since then he has suffered through injuries and an inflated ERA. If he makes the rotation, he will not be expected to be an ace, but instead a solid backend pitcher. His strikeout stuff makes him an intriguing comeback candidate similar to Francisco Liriano last season.
St. Louis Cardinals
If there was one hole in the Cardinals lineup last season, it was the shortstop position. Overall, their shortstops hit .222 last season with only four homeruns. The team upgraded in a big way this offseason by signing Jhonny Peralta. Peralta not only provides a great glove in the field, but a strong bat. In a PED suspension shortened 2013, Peralta hit a career high .303 with 11 homeruns. Batting in the fearsome Cardinals lineup should help his numbers continue to flourish.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference