Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish wipes rain off his face before pitching during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Chicago. St. Louis won 3-2. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
In what has been a whirlwind winter in some corners of Major League Baseball, the Windy City has added a Hall of Fame manager, a needlepoint outfielder, a pitcher with Cardinals ties who has been one of the steadiest starters in the majors, and, already this week, a $54-million closer for the bullpen.
While Wrigley Field has been leaking, the Chicago White Sox have asserted themselves as not just a favorite to win their division, but the most exciting and quite possibly best team in the region.
South is going north.
Cubs are hibernating.
The NL Central has hit the snooze.
In a series of unrelated moves that clearly have completely related motivates, three different NL Central teams made trades that help fortify pitching staffs in Southern California. Out of the division went a closer with back-to-back 30-save seasons for a losing team, an All-Star reliever who had a sub-2.00 ERA season, and a finalist for this year’s NL Cy Young Award. Respectively: The Reds shipped Raisel Iglesias to the Angels, the Brewers traded Corey Knebel to the Dodgers, and the Cubs dropped salary by offering Yu Darvish to San Diego.
By trade, by non-tender, and…