AL Central Notes: Kimbrel, Witt, Vaughn, Greene

We’ve heard that the Twins are involved in the still-evolving market for free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel. But how aggressive will the Minnesota organization be and what will it take to make a deal? One unidentified source tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post that Kimbrel is seen as a “priority” for the Twins, though it’s tough to pin down the meaning of that phrase unless it’s coming straight from the top of the Minnesota front office. Notably, Kimbrel is said to have continued his quest for a multi-year deal into the summer. That approach promises to have major ramifications for his market, as it could both limit the field of suitors (some teams may only want a rental) and expand it (others may also shop for the future and see an opportunity to defer the money it will take to secure his services).

While the Twins are posing a challenge to the perennial front-running Indians, a few other teams from the division have been busy cashing in their consolation prizes from rough 2018 seasons …

  • The Royals did not hide their excitement at landing Bobby Witt Jr. with the second overall pick of the MLB Draft, as Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star writes. It’s easy to dream on top picks, but the Royals have done more than that. They’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time. GM Dayton Moore says the club has been tracking Witt closely “since he was 14 years old,” calling it “an absolute honor and privilege to follow him and his career.” The high-end high school shortstop will look to follow his father in turning in a lengthy MLB career. Just how excited are the Royals? Moore: “It’s a great celebration in this organization today because we were able to select him. We knew a little over a year ago that this was a player that we were going to target. To see this day come has been very, very special for all of us.”
  • The White Sox now have a first baseman of the future in Andrew Vaughn, who went third overall. As Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Tribune writes, the club went with Vaughn on a pure talent assessment. But the fact that he’s quite possibly a quick-to-the-majors bat that suits the roster wasn’t lost on the team. Scouting director Nick Hostetler said of the selection: “the fact it might fill a void in the future here was an added bonus.”
  • And the Tigers were thrilled to find high school outfielder Riley Greene waiting for them at #5, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. With ample rotation talent already filtering up the ranks of the Detroit farm, it’s no doubt gratifying for the club to find such a highly regarded position player in that spot. The youngster obviously isn’t even close to the MLB radar at this point, but he’ll immediately become a player to watch for the organization’s fans.

from MLB Trade Rumors

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