As we sit in our corner of the internet complaining about Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales and ketchup and so forth, other teams have been making moves as well. The Tigers, Indians, White Sox, and Twins have all done things. Some of those things we wish the Royals had done. What follows is a quick recap for each team with perhaps a few words from each teams' respective SB Nation affiliate. The moves are listed in no particular order, and this list isn't exhaustive.
1) Re-signed DH Victor Martinez to a 4 year, $68M deal. From Bless You Boys' Catherine Slonksnis:
The deal further limits the Tigers ability to spend in the future, but they clearly thought it was necessary, especially with Martinez coming off a career-year. With Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez in the 3-4-5 hole, it creates what Dombrowski called the strongest in MLB. The Tigers thought that was worth keeping. .
2) Traded SP Rick Porcello to the Red Sox for LF Yoenis Cespedes, P Alex Wilson, and P Gabe Speier.
4) Traded minor league 2B/CF Devon Travis to Toronto for CF Anthony Gose. Rajai Davis and Gose will most likely platoon in CF. Gose is a lefty and will get the lion's share of the platoon with the righty Davis, who will probably spell J.D. Martinez and Cespedes occasionally.
6) The Tigers exercised RP Joakim Soria's option to keep him on for 2015.
7) Re-signed RP Joel Hanrahan to a minor league contract. Hanrahan is recovering from TJ surgery.
Aside from Martinez, the Tigers were most active in the trade market. They should be strong up the middle in defense with Gose, Jose Iglesias returning, and Ian Kinsler. They have legitimate payroll concerns, though it seems like owner Mike Ilitch will pay whatever it takes to win the World Series. Regardless, the Tigers most likely won't bring back Scherzer, and they'll have to roll with Greene and Simon as replacements for Scherzer and Porcello. Despite losing Scherzer, the moves made by Dave Dombrowski have positioned the Tigers to retain first place in the AL Central. It should be closer than last year since the Tigers are probably a bit worse, and the Indians and Royals will be hot on their tails.
This trade is a big win for the Tribe...This feels like a dramatic case of selling low by the A's (and I'm not the only one feeling that way; there's a lot of pain in the comments at Athletics Nation this afternoon)...Hats off to Chris Antonetti and his staff. This move is a winner.
2) Signed Gavin Floyd to a 1 year, $4M contract with an extra $6M in incentives.
The Indians are mostly set. They could use some rebound seasons from Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and Jason Kipnis, but even with relatively poor seasons from that trio, the Indians still won 85 games. They have a strong rotation and a decent-looking bullpen. They added some offense with Brandon Moss. Their defense will still be bad. Ryan Raburn is still there.
Chicago White Sox
1) Traded P Chris Bassitt, C Josh Phegley, 1B Rangel Ravelo, and IF Marcus Semien for SP Jeff Samardzija and P Michael Ynoa.
3) Signed OF Melky Cabrera to a 3 year, $42M contract. From Jim Margalus of South Side Sox:
Cabrera's hit when he's healthy, before and after he got busted, in both leagues,and from both sides of the plate. He's shown virtually no platoon split over the last four years:
vs. LHP: .308/.350/.477
vs. RHP: .309/.352/.451And that will allow Robin Ventura to play him everyday, presumably in the second spot, which is where he hit for the Blue Jays almost all of last season.
4) Signed 1B/DH Adam LaRoche to a 2 year, $25M contract.
5) Signed RP David Robertson to a 4 year, $46M contract.
6) Signed RP Zach Duke to a 3 year, $15M contract.
The White Sox turned to the free agent market for their improvements. They handed out a lot of money to 2 relief pitchers. That's just about Papelbon money for Robertson. Despite these moves, the White Sox still have significant holes. Their top 3 in the rotation is as good as anyone's, but it's ugly after those 3. The bullpen will be better, but that doesn't move the needle very much. The White Sox are still weak at 3B, 2B, SP, C, and RF to a certain extent. They are, unequivocally, a better team.
1) Signed SP Ervin Santana to a 4 year, $54M contract with a vesting option year that has a $1M buyout. From Jesse at Twinkie Town:
In all likelihood, this is going to be a four-year commitment for Minnesota and it will cost them $55 million. Santana will need to accumulate roughly 7.8 fWAR to be worth his contract in 2014 dollars, and that's a total he's a good bet to hit even if we don't take into account the increasing value of wins on the open market.
2) Extended SP Phil Hughes with a 3 year, $42M commitment and a raise during his current contract. From Jesse again:
While Hughes found success in Minnesota partially because of his reduced home run rates, he also saw his strikeout rates take a step forward while his walk rate shrunk to an historic low - leading to an MLB record 11.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In 209.2 innings in 2014 he posted a 3.52 ERA, but FIP and xFIP both insisted he was even better (2.65 and 3.18, respectively). He also accumulated 6.1 fWAR in 2014, tying him with David Priceand Jon Lester as the fourth most valuable pitcher in the game (behind Corey Kluber, Clayton Kershaw, and Felix Hernandez).
3) Signed RP Tim Stauffer to a 1 year, $2.2M contract.
4) Signed Torii Hunter to a 1 year, $10.5M contract.
The Twins made few moves, but the big one was Santana. Many of us here were hoping for a Santana reunion, but it doesn't appear that the Royals wanted to go beyond 2 years with anyone. The Twins go into 2015 with largely the same roster that netted them 70 wins last year as well as part of their roster that won them games 10 years ago (Hunter). It'll be another long year.
Overall, the White Sox and Tigers were most aggressive while the Indians and Twins seemed mostly content with what they had. The Indians and Royals should battle the Tigers for division supremacy. The White Sox are no longer a team that should be written off, but they still have a lot of holes. The Twins will likely bring up the rear. The offseason isn't over, but the two big AL Central pieces still left on the market (Scherzer and James Shields) will probably go outside this division. Unless a big trade is consummated, not much will change for each AL Central team from now until the start of the season.