Things have definitely slowed in the 3-horse race that is the AL Central, but they haven’t stalled entirely. Here’s a brief recap of what we’ve seen this past week:
The Tigers are still contemplating adding (depending on how you look at it) a 5th starter or a 6th starter. Bonderman’s name is popping up in rumors not only with the Tigers but other teams as well. The same goes for Brad Penny, though if Dombrowski wants him so badly I don’t see why their hasn’t been more action thus far. In addition – though no one has said anything concrete – the Cubs acquisition of Matt Garza might make them more willing to part with Tom Gorzelanny. Lately we’re hearing via MLB.com that the Tigers may have interest in Freddy Garcia. OK, sure, why not. I’m not at all sold on Coke (and to a lesser extent, Porcello) as guaranteed performers so I’m very much in favor of adding veteran depth. If Garcia is deciding between a number of bad offers, none of which offer a guaranteed rotation spot, maybe the Venezuelan connection is enough to bring him here. He pitched pretty well for the Sox last year, though as much as I’d like to believe that signing him would hurt a rival that’s too much of a stretch for me.
Speaking of the White Sox: I and others had assumed a month ago that they were done. The contracts to Dunn, Konerko and Pierzynski were supposed to have tapped them out with Jenks’ release as proof. Then they signed Jesse Crain. And now they’ve signed Will Ohman. Ohman is a guy I would have liked to see the Tigers pursue, I don’t think that our house LOOGYs are up to the job (unless Coke pitches out of the ‘pen). After a bit of chatter early in the hotstove season about the left-handers on the market, Dombrowski seemed to decide once and for all that none of them were worth the cost. A bunch of top lefties like Downs were type-A free agents, and I can’t see burning a draft pick on a guy who is going to pitch about 40 innings. The contract we gave Benoit also seems to have set the bar high for relief deals this offseason, with a lot of 3-year deals and a lot of money changing hands. Ohman, however, settled on a 2-year deal for $4 million. I think he’s well worth that, especially given that he doesn’t cost a pick. I’m wondering why, exactly, the White Sox made him that offer instead of Detroit?
The third horse isn’t doing much of anything – strangely. Rumor has it that the Twins are now the only legitimate suitor for Carl Pavano – but they still haven’t signed him. Who is dragging his feet here, I wonder? Is Pavano’s agent desperately seeking a better offer, or are the Twins playing hardball? Jim Thome is also unsigned, and reportedly demanding a 400% raise from his salary last year. DH-types were abundant on the free agent market this year, and there are still viable options for the Twins should Thome sign elsewhere, so it’s hard to imagine him getting the same dollars that Berkman got, and hard to imagine anything happening quickly.