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Around the Bigs: An AL Central Snapshot

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We'll finish off the American League review by putting the Central Division into focus.

Cleveland Indians: Kerry Wood signed a 2 yr/$20.5 million contract to become their new closer. Last season was largely injury free, and should help a club that was 42-53 in games decided by three runs or less. The Indians had one of the worst bullpens in the majors, even beyond their poor record in close games. Only one Indian ranked in the top fifty in baseball in expected wins added over a replacement level pitcher, a stat which takes into account runners on base, how many outs, etc. It's a lot of money for a closer, but it strengthens the Indians and probably weakens the Cubs. Score.

Kansas City Royals: Acquired Mike Jacobs and Coco Crisp in two separate deals. Jacobs has a career OPS+ of 110,yet has had his struggles against Coco Crisp isn't all that great of a player, but he does represent the changes in the team's philosophy on spending money: they're actually going to do it.

Chicago White Sox: Javier Vasquez (and minor leaguer Boone Logan) was traded to the Braves for a slew of players: Brent Lillibridge, Tyler Flowers, John Gilmore, and Santos Rodriguez. For the Sox, Tyler Flowers seems to be the juiciest piece of fruit that was plucked from the Braves' organizational tree. The Braves get two years of Vazquez and his inconsistent self, and the Chicago may get a guy who can be a major league catcher for years to come, starting as early as 2010...more than fair in my estimation.

Detroit Tigers: Traded for Gerald Laird, the former Ranger. Inexpensive, durable, but possibly pricey in terms of talent given up. The move makes sense for the immediate future for the Tigers, and the Rangers were dealing from a position of strength.

But let's be real. The guy below this sentence is the most important signing of the off-season by any team:


2009 model Adam Everett: Comes with glove. Warning: Bat not included.

Minnesota Twins: The Twinkies off-season has been marked not by who they've signed or traded, but a ton of rumors. They were interested at various points in Casey Blake, Garrett Atkins, Ty Wigginton and Huston Street. Could Delmon Young be traded after only one season in the Twin Cities? Ron Gardenhire may not mind too much.