AL Central Offseason Update: Twins Wait While Others Active
Image courtesy of © Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY SportsCleveland Baseball Team: Payroll Dump
The team formerly known as the Indians made a blockbuster deal on Thursday by sending shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets for a package of four players. Lindor rumors had been swirling for the throughout the offseason as he is one year away from free agency and Cleveland wanted to get something for him before he hit the open market.
Cleveland is clearly trying to dump as much payroll as possible. With players currently on their roster, Cleveland’s Opening Day payroll is scheduled to be around $35 million. Last season, the lowest payroll in baseball was Baltimore and their payroll was over $52 million. In the tweet above, there were two teams with a payroll under $35 million in 2001 with the Twins being the lowest at $24 million.
Chicago White Sox: Two Team Race
Chicago got their offseason started by hiring Tony La Russa to manager their team. Near the time he was hired, word came out that he had been charged with driving under the influence in Arizona. To make matters worse, it wasn’t his first time being charged with this offense. Besides the off the field issues, La Russa turned 76-years old in October, so his hiring seems questionable even for White Sox fans. To put that in perspective for Twins fans, former manager Tom Kelly is six-years younger than La Russa.
The White Sox have made some moves to bolster their roster as well. Chicago dealt Avery Weems and Dane Dunning to Texas for starting pitcher Lance Lynn. Twins fans will remember Lynn’s poor season with the club, but he has been one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last two seasons. In December, the White Sox brought back a familiar face to the South Side by signing outfielder Adam Eaton to a one-year, $7 million contract which includes a club option for 2022.
Chicago looks to be the Twins biggest challenger in the AL Central, especially after the moves mentioned above.
Detroit Tigers: Hinch Hired for Rebuild
Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire retired as Tigers manager before the end of the 2020 season. This left the Tigers looking for a new man to run the show in Motown. AJ Hinch was suspended for the entire 2020 season after the Astros cheating scandal and now, he will be charged with turning around a Tigers club that has a winning percentage under .400 for four consecutive seasons.
Last winter, the Tigers brought in two former Twins, CJ Cron and Jonathan Schoop, to bolster their line-up. This winter Detroit turned to another former Twin by signing outfielder Robbie Grossman to a two-year deal worth $10 million guaranteed. He posted a career high 1.3 WAR last year in Oakland and he did this in just 51 games. Detroit also added to their starting pitching depth by signing Jose Urena to a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. It’s still a waiting game in Detroit as their top prospects work their way to the big leagues.
Kansas City: Minor Moves
Like Detroit, Kanas City is in the midst of a rebuild with plenty of questions about what the future might hold for the franchise. One of their biggest offseason moves was signing Mike Minor to a two-year deal. At the same time, the club agreed to terms with outfielder Michael Taylor to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. His addition helps the team to add some outfield depth, but it certainly isn’t a difference making move.
Another familiar name also signed in Kansas City just before the new year. Former Twins pitcher Ervin Santana agreed to a minor league deal to return to Kanas City, a team he called home back in 2013. If he is on the major league roster, he gets a base salary of $1.5 million with a chance to earn an extra $1.75 million in performance bonuses. Santana didn’t pitch in 2020 and he already turned 38-years old.
Minnesota’s lone move has been to sign relief pitcher Hansel Robles. There are likely other moves coming, but the landscape of the AL Central continues to evolve.
What are your thoughts about the AL Central so far this winter? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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