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Notes: Cubs demote Kris Bryant and Javier Baez, Reds release Paul Maholm

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The season starts next week and the Pirates still have plenty of important decisions to make. If they've made any of them yet, though, they haven't announced them. So in the meantime, here are a few notes from elsewhere around the league, including some on teams that have started making big decisions that will shape their roster.

-P- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that Spring Training has become too unwieldy and should be changed. You should always be suspicious of writers who argue for changes that would make their jobs easier, but as a writer myself, I agree with Evan Grant.

-P- The Cubs have demoted Kris Bryant, along with Addison Russell and Javier Baez. The moralizing over Bryant's situation is tiresome -- he'll be up within a couple weeks, and in a month none of this will seem like any big deal. Unless he's great and the Cubs miss the playoffs by one game, in which case #LOLCUBS. Even noting that unlikely possibility, though, the Cubs' decision is an easy one. As J.J. Cooper suggests, Baez's demotion is actually pretty noteworthy, since there aren't any service-time issues there. He struggled this spring and in winter ball after striking out 95 times in 229 plate appearances last year.

-P- The Reds have released old friend Paul Maholm, who didn't make their rotation as they originally suggested he might.

-P- The Cardinals have added Carlos Villanueva to their roster and placed Jaime Garcia on the DL with shoulder trouble. Garcia had impressed the Cardinals in camp, but now it looks like he could be headed for yet another injury-marred season.

-P- The Mets have acquired ... well, what do you know, a pretty good lefty reliever in Alex Torres (also known as the guy with the huge protective cap). As Mike Axisa notes, they haven't made many trades for useful big-leaguers lately.