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Winter Meetings transactions for the the AL Central

With the Winter Meetings finished, a look at what did our AL Central rivals did (or not do) in order to improve their lot for 2015...

These were among the busiest Winter Meetings I can recall. The Dodgers are the single team that did the most, but probably no division was more active than the AL Central. A look at what each of the Tribe's rivals did this week:

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox made the most noise at the Meetings, and were universally lauded for their efforts, but I don't think they did quite enough to break into the top two of the division ...yet.


  • SP Jeff Samardzija (trade with A's)
  • RP Michael Ynoa (trade with A's)
  • RP David Robertson (free agent): 4 years, $46M
  • C Rob Brantly (waivers)
  • RP Dan Jennings (trade with Marlins)


  • SP Chris Bassitt (trade with A's)
  • C Josh Phegley (trade with A's)
  • 1B Rangel Ravelo (trade with A's)
  • SS Marcus Semien (trade with A's)
  • SP Andre Rienzo (trade with Marlins)

Samardzija (their Scrabble name) gives the White Sox a very solid threesome at the top of the rotation. They still have John Danks at #4. Losing Bassitt and Rienzo means right now the #5 is either Scott Carroll or Erik Johnson. Brantly likely replaces Phegley as the bench catcher (although Adrian Nieto has a shot). Semien had been passed by Carlos Sanchez already and would have been stuck in AAA or on the bench. The bullpen got upgrades in Robertson and Jennings and should be improved.

So the rotation is improved, but still hurting at the back end. The bullpen got significantly better, but at a very high cost. The lineup has not really changed.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers probably did more than the White Sox, but overall I think they are only slightly improved.


  • SP Shane Greene (trade with Yankees and Diamondbacks)
  • LF Yoenis Cespedes (trade with Red Sox)
  • RP Alex Wilson (trade with Red Sox)
  • SP Gabe Speier (trade with Red Sox)
  • SP Alfredo Simon (trade with Reds)


  • SP Robbie Ray (trade with Yankees and Diamondbacks)
  • 2B Domingo Leyba (trade with Yankees and Diamondbacks)
  • SP Rick Porcello (trade with Red Sox)
  • SS Eugenio Suarez (trade with Reds)
  • SP Jonathan Crawford (trade with Reds)

Originally after dealing Porcello I figured the Tigers would jump back into the Max Scherzer sweepstakes. But the deal for Simon now gives them a starting five of David Price, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Greene and Simon. No need for Scherzer unless another trade is in the works.

Cespedes will take over in left, shifting J.D. Martinez to right and leaving Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis to split center. Suarez was the odd man out with Jose Iglesius returning from injury. Wilson is a much needed arm in the pen. Ray looked like he wasn't going to live up to his pedigree. Leyba, Speier and Crawford are all lower level minor leaguers.

Their rotation is now set and the lineup looks more formidable. But the bullpen was barely touched. Expect Dombrowski to pull a few more maneuvers there before spring training.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals may have enjoyed the beaches in San Diego, but were less active than their AL Central counterparts.


  • DH Kendrys Morales (free agent): 2 years, $17M
  • RHRP Luke Hochevar (free agent): 2 years, $10M
  • RHRP Jandel Gustave (trade with Red Sox)

  • Some money (trade with Red Sox)

Hochevar missed all of 2014 and signed a two-year deal to return. Gustave was taken by the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft from the Astros, then quickly sold to KC. He must stick on the Royals roster for all of 2015, giving them another bullpen arm.

Other than replacing Billy Butler with Morales, the Royals have done little. While they were a win away from winning the World Series, they barely made the playoffs, and standing pat doesn't seem like a good way to return to the postseason, given what other Central teams have been up to.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins did a bit more than the Royals, but maybe shouldn't have.


SP Ervin Santana (free agent): 4 years, $55M

OF Torii Hunter (free agent): 1 year, $10.5M

OF Shane Robinson (free agent): minor league deal

SP J.R. Graham (Rule 5 draft)


1B/RF Chris Colabello (waivers)

SP Sean Gilmartin (Rule 5 draft)

Hunter is a role player at this point. Robinson is likely to be in AAA all season. Losing Colabello hurts somewhat in terms of depth. I think the Twins lost the "trade" of Rule 5 players as Gilmartin was better and is left-handed, but Graham will either get a shot at the open #5 spot in the rotation or be hidden as the long man in relief. As for Santana, he's probably not worth $55 million, and looks like another Ricky Nolasco.


What do you think of each team's week?