The first day of the annual Baseball Winter Meetings transpired Monday. While the Detroit Tigers did not make any moves, two of their rivals did.
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Before we get into the moves of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox from Monday, the Tigers did make minor news when beat writers tracked down GM Dave Dombrowski at the meetings in San Diego.
Among the musings of DD:
- A lot of teams have been inquiring about the Tigers’ pitchers, but he “feels good” about the five starters in place now. Those five would be Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, David Price and Shane Greene. Reading between the lines this likely means the Tigers are shutting the door on Max Scherzer, however that was not said. It’s still possible that a pitcher is dealt and Scherzer is resigned, but the Tigers don’t seem to possess the urgency to sign Scherzer or any of the other front line free agent starters.
- New bullpen faces coming? Don’t bet on it and DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER! DD stated the team feels as if Joakim Soria and Bruce Rondon are additions and that “sometimes you can fix things internally too.”
- How about another outfielder? That may be internal too. Dombrowski spoke highly of Tyler Collins. Steven Moya and Hernan Perez (who has been converted to outfield in winter ball) are also possibilities to fill the hole left by Torii Hunter. The highly rumored Porcello for Yoenis Cespedes reached initial talking stages but now appears to be dead, reportedly because Boston was not willing to send two players instead of just Cespedes back in return for Porcello.
- Another outfield possibility is Andy Dirks. Injured all of last year, Dirks was picked up on waivers by Toronto but not offered a contract and declared free agency. DD says the team is interested in bringing their former outfielder back into the fold.
The Tigers also stated they had conducted no face-to-face meetings with free agents on the first day of the meetings, but the White Sox sure did.
Motor City Bengals
Chicago signed former New York Yankee closer David Robertson to a four-year deal for more than $40 million. They also completed a trade that adds to their starting pitching depth by bringing former Cub Jeff Samardzija back to Chicago. The right hander was traded to Oakland near last year’s trading deadline, but the A’s appear to be on another rebuilding effort as they sent Samardzija to the White Sox in exchange for infielder Marcus Semien, RHP Chris Bassitt and a player to be named.
Bassitt had a cup of coffee in Chicago last season, pitching well in limited action but was one of the White Sox top prospects.
These trades make Chicago and Cleveland better teams and closes the gap between the division’s playoff teams from 2014, Kansas City and Detroit.
Don’t believe the hype about Cleveland being “in the driver’s seat,” as Harold Reynolds said after the Moss trade was announced, or that Chicago turned an improving and young roster into a juggernaut.
With that being said, from 1 through 4, the AL Central teams all have strengths but each one has various weaknesses. If the Tigers don’t respond with any other moves, it’s hard to make them the favorites for next year because, really, it will be a crapshoot.