Sep 26, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstopAlexei Ramirez
hits a RBI single against the Kansas City Royals in the 8th inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
As we are close to ringing in the new year, the offseason for the AL Central has been one of, to borrow a phrase to describe potential NFL draft choices, “high motor” with all five teams working to make their team better in ’15.
We all know what the Chicago White Sox have done by signing and trading for the likes of Jeff Samardzija, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson and Adam LaRoche this offseason, but the rest of the AL Central has become better as well.
Dare I say the AL Central is the best division in all of baseball?
The division currently has not only the new and improved White Sox, but there are the reigning AL champion Kansas City Royals, a team that was one win away from being World Series champions.
We can’t forget about the four-time consecutive division champs Detroit Tigers, a team that improved as well with the addition of left fielder Yoenis Cespedes and even Alfredo Simon to an extent. I’m still not sure about their bullpen, a part of the team that cost them in the postseason.
Plus they still are most likely the front runners to re-sign former Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer, and they still will have the services of David Price who they traded for during the ’14 season, oh and they still have Justin Verlander.
We can’t forget about them re-signing designated hitter Victor Martinez for the next four years as well.
The Cleveland Indians have had two consecutive winning seasons under manager Terry Francona, and have the reigning AL Cy Young award winner in Corey Kluber. The Tribe also traded for first baseman Brandon Moss, adding to a team that had 85 wins in ’14.
As for the Minnesota Twins … they had a nice free agent signing with starting pitcher Ervin Santana joining their team, plus they now have a new manager in Hall of Famer Paul Molitor. Plus they signed Torii Hunter back to their team after a number of years away from the team.
With all of that said, there is still the fact the Royals are the AL Champions, though they’ve made a few changes to their lineup as well thus far this offseason.
Kansas City did sign Alex Rios to a contract, and they also signed Kendrys Morales. They didn’t re-sign DH Billy Butler, but I don’t see that as a huge loss for KC, but most likely not having Nori Aoki and James Shields on the roster in ’15 will have to make a difference with their ball club, right?
How would you rank the AL Central right now? My rankings as of Monday, Dec. 29 are: Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins.
That could change tomorrow or the next day, and most likely will by the start of spring training, and then again when my final predictions come at the start of the 2015 season.
My reason for the Tigers over everyone else … simple, they are the four-time division champions for a reason, and someone has to prove to be able to knock them off the pedestal before they are no longer the class of the division.
Yes, I know the Royals are the AL champions, but their team is already different than the team that made the magical run in October.
The AL Central will be a very tough division in ’15, and that gives us all something to look forward to watching as the calendar moves to 2015 in a few short days. I can’t wait.
More from White Sox News
- The Chicago White Sox might have had a season ending loss
- The Chicago White Sox are expecting Tim Anderson back soon
- Miguel Cairo’s words spark life into the Chicago White Sox
- Dylan Cease should be the favorite for the AL Cy Young Award
- Ozzie Guillen speaks the whole truth about Tony La Russa
In other White Sox news:
• CSN Chicago wrote about how the Nationals will miss LaRoche.
• Here is a graphic of both the White Sox and Chicago Cubs’ 2014 seasons from the Chicago Tribune.
• Bleacher Report handed out 2-month MLB Offseason Awards.