Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Twins Have Made The AL Central A Lot More Interesting

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With the news that the Twins are trading notorious White Sox killer Jorge Polanco to the Seattle Mariners, the gap from 1-5 in the division got a little bit closer. The division-winning Twins have not made any moves that will significantly help the club in 2024, leaving the division up for grabs.

To this point in the offseason, the Twins have had more significant players leave than they have acquired. They lost starters Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, and Tyler Mahle in free agency, along with reliever Emilio Pagan. They also let Joey Gallo walk in free agency, which is not as big of a loss, but he did hit 20+ home runs for them last season.

The only major league players the Twins have acquired at this point are Josh Staumont, a reliever from the Royals, and the two pitchers in the Polanco deal, Justin Topa and Anthony DeSclafani. Topa is a solid reliever but has only pitched one full year in the majors at this point and he is 32. DeSclafani is a solid back-of-the-rotation arm, but he won’t move the needle at this point in his career.

For a team that won 87 games last year, they only have gotten worse, leaving the AL Central wide open for the taken. But, even with the Twins lack of moves, most of the teams in the AL Central did not make any significant moves, which could make the division much more interesting than we originally thought. It could take about 82 wins to win the division, which is attainable for most teams in any given year, as it is only two games over .500.

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The Guardians are always going to be a scrappy team, as they have some interesting prospects that could come up and easily make a contribution. No matter what they do in the offseason, they always seem to develop enough pitching to be an above average team. But, at this point, they are not going to be pushing for World Series contention, making them a beatable opponent.

The Royals were somehow worse than the White Sox in 2023, but they have some young talent on the rise. They also added some decent pieces in free agency, potentially making them a better team. They added Adam Frazier, Hunter Renfroe, Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha, Chris Stratton, and Will Smith. While none of these players are top of the line players, they are are all upgrades at the positions for the Royals, making them better overall. If they made a push for the divison title, that wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

The team that is most likely to compete for the division title is the Detroit Tigers. They have plenty of young talent that is on the rise like Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson. They added Kenta Maeda, Jack Flaherty, and Mark Canha in the offseason, who are solid veteran additions to a young club. They should be better strictly because of their young players developing, but those players should make a solid contribution.

While we have no idea how the Twins will do, as many thought they would take a step back last year after trading Luis Arraez, they could still do well with the younger talent on the team they clearly have faith in.

Since the highest the White Sox can pick is 10th overall in tht 2025 draft, they should have made a few more moves to be competitive, as this division is arguably one of the weakest in all of baseball. Unless the Sox are much better than people think, they could be the only team that is incapable of winning the divison, which is a shame for such a large market.

It’s still the Twins divison to lose at this point, but they are playing it extra smart, as they are making moves for the future while still being able to compete in a weak division. This is something that the White Sox should do, but have not for whatever reason.

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