This article is part of our The Z Files series.
This week's trip through the MLB divisions stops in the Midwest. We'll begin in the Windy City, head north for some beer and bratwurst before hanging a left towards the Arch. Our tour continues in the Steel City before ending in the Queen's City. Let's kick off the new year with a look at the playing time questions in the National League Central.
The position battles will be in center and right field with Ian Happ, Albert Almora, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward the main combatants. It's tough to handicap, especially with Joe Madden holding the reins, but this could be the season Zobrist drops back into his super-utility role. If Happ hits, he'll play, though Almora Jr. and Heyward are better defenders. I like Happ's stick, but I can't pay full freight with so many moving parts.
This is the main area needing attention with Jake Arrieta and John Lackey hitting free agency. Tyler Chatwood lines up to replace Lackey. Obviously, Wrigley Field is a nice park upgrade for him, but keep in mind the venue increases walks even more than Coors Field, so unless Chatwood can harness his control the transition may not go as swimmingly as many anticipate. Replacing Arrieta is more of a chore with Yu Darvish or a return of the veteran right-hander at the top of the Cubs' wish list. A trade is also possible.
Brandon Morrow was signed, ostensibly to be the closer. The caveat