Let’s take a look at the key needs of each AL Central team in the winter free agent market to enhance their chances of a successful MLB odds season in 2016.
Even though the Kansas City Royals are the reigning world champions, they have a lot of holes to fill due to free agency. Specifically, they need a lot of pitching help, a solution at second base and at least one corner outfielder. Platooning Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando would be a nice upgrade over Alex Rios.
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Jason Heyward is a pricey free agent, but Will Venable, Gerardo Parra and Denard Span are cheaper options who could do nicely. The Royals should try to bring back Ben Zobrist to spell Omar Infante at second base. Zobrist could also get some time in right field. The pitching staff has just 12 healthy arms, three of whom are headed for free agency.
The Minnesota Twins need a new catcher and plenty of pitching. Trevor Plouffe, the talented third baseman, is a valuable trade chip the team could convert into pitching. The Twins almost came away with the second wild card last season, and the team needs to decide whether it can contend now or should give their young players another year to season. If they want to contend, they need rotation upgrades. They also need another catching option to supplement Kurt Suzuki, who continued to provide subpar performances in 2015.
The Cleveland Indians are looking for a center fielder, a first baseman/DH and a third baseman. Their starting rotation is young and terrific. However, the team’s offense was dismal. Such players as Lonnie Chisenhall, Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana are due better years at the plate this season, but even so the team still needs a true DH and a center fielder. Colby Rasmus, Austin Jackson and Denard Span would all be good ideas. Mike Napoli would make a solid DH. The Tribe is not going to spend elite money, though.
In Chicago, the White Sox need to look for starting pitching and some bats. They signed star closer David Robertson last winter to close, and their rotation has some holes. The offense in the infield needs some improvement too. Asdrubal Cabrera would be a good choice at shortstop, and Juan Uribe would be a good signing at third. The White Sox need a fifth starter as well.
The Detroit Tigers are unlikely to sign any of their own free agents, all of whom appear to represent aged dead weight at the present time. They need outfielders and pitchers, particularly. The Tigers lost 15 more games in 2015 than they did in 2014, primarily because their pitching staff fell apart. The only teams that permitted more runs last year were Colorado and Philadlephia. The Tigers have seen five quality starters and three quality relievers leave over the past two seasons, while Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez have had injuries and other physical issues keeping them from doing their best. Daniel Norris and Michael Fulmer are solid prospects in the system thanks to trades last season.