AL Central Notes: Twins, Liriano, Tigers, White Sox

Perhaps no team gained as much from the offseason’s slow free agent market as the Twins, who were able to sign Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison to one-year deals far below their expected asking prices.  These signings augmented Minnesota’s heavier investment in relief pitching (Addison Reed, Fernando Rodney, Zach Duke) and its acquisition of Jake Odorizzi from the Rays for just a lightly-regarded minor league infielder.  “We recognized relatively early in this offseason that there are different rules to this card game and we kept getting dealt different cards,” Twins GM Thad Levine tells Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown.  “We had to figure out how to keep our head above water in this new game….It would be a little disingenuous for me to say that we had any forecast associated with seeing that this was on the horizon and that we plotted these moves. We really were more reacting to how the market was unfolding and trying to make the most of our opportunities.”

While the team itself is obviously pleased at the roster upgrades, Phil Hughes noted that it also “a little bit conflicting” for Twins players as they recognize how some of their fellow union members have been left shortchanged on the open market.  “You recognize there’s a problem with the way free agency is being handled now,” Hughes said.  “But, we’re benefiting from a couple of these guys who shouldn’t have fallen into our laps….You certainly would rather be the team getting these guys for sweetheart deals than the team not getting them.”

Here’s some more from around the AL Central…

  • Health permitting, Francisco Liriano has clinched a spot in the Tigers rotation, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters (including’s Jason Beck).  Liriano worked exclusively out of the bullpen down the stretch for the Astros last season after struggling in 17 starts for the Blue Jays.  Now that he’s regained a foothold as a starter, however, Liriano will join Michael Fulmer in Detroit’s starting five with the other three spots to be contested between Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Fiers, Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd.  With Boyd out of options and Zimmerman and Fiers both under MLB contracts, Norris could be the odd man out, as he still has a minor league option remaining.
  • The Tigers are still scouting and evaluating several potential candidates for the first overall pick in June’s amateur draft, team director of amateur scouting Scott Pleis tells The Athletic’s Katie Strang (subscription required).  The process is still “wide open now,” Pleis said, and “after we get later into March and into April, we’ll have an idea — or narrow it down more, is what I should say.”  The interview contains lots of interesting tidbits about what Pleis and the Tigers value in a prospect, with a particular focus on the player’s makeup and character.
  • Ryan Cordell is having a strong Spring Training and could be working his way into a spot on the White Sox roster, NBC Sports Chicago’s Vinnie Duber writes.  Cordell, an 11th-round pick for the Rangers in the 2013 draft, has a .276/.339/.468 slash line, 65 homers and 81 steals (in 103 chances) over 1940 career PA in the minor leagues.  He was acquired from the Brewers for Anthony Swarzak last July, and White Sox GM Rick Hahn said in January that he’d received trade inquiries about Cordell from three different teams.  Chicago is having an open competition for center field and left field playing time could also be available if Nicky Delmonico’s partially-dislocated shoulder sidelines him for a significant amount of time.

from MLB Trade Rumors


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