Two teams that are still trying to find some sort of impact-making signing are the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, probably feeling they have kind of been left behind in the AL Central, especially when it comes to trying to keep up with the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals.
The Royals are the World Series champions, two years in a row making it that far. They have lost some pieces like Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto, but they managed to hold on to Alex Gordon and added Ian Kennedy to the mix, which makes their rotation stronger while not giving up anything when it comes to their excellent bullpen. They might not be done making minor signings as well but overall, this is a team that’s very similar to the one that’s been doing so well the last two years.
The Tigers didn’t want to spend big but did it anyway, going all out with Justin Upton, signing him on a deal worth $22 million a season over six years. After an uncharacteristic down year for the most consistent team in the division these last few years, the Tigers are once again looking to be that big hitting team they’ve been known for with a lineup that’s very hard to get around, while hoping their pitching crew bounces back from a so-so season.
There are the Twins, but the Indians and White Sox aren’t competing with them and feeling a little bit outmatched. The Indians did make some signings, but their big achievement this offseason was not trading away any one of their four best starting pitchers, which seemed to be attracting attention from everyone in baseball at one point or another. They’ve been after some hitting in the infield, with Juan Uribe the name mentioned more than anything else, but right now, they don’t want to spend the kind of money he’s looking for.
The White Sox have added players, most notably Todd Frazier through a three-team trade. But they’ve been looking at every possible outfielder on the free agent market, missing out by not offering enough when it comes to the bigger names like Yoenis Cespedes and Upton. They’ve been mostly linked with Dexter Fowler recently and they do seem eager to make some sort of signing before it’s too late but right now, just like the Indians, it’s hard to think of them as potential division winners when they’re not able to close the quality gap between them and the others through spending.
Although money doesn’t mean success. The biggest spending teams don’t necessarily win the titles and make the playoffs. But both the White Sox and Indians are in the bottom eight of spending on free agency so far this offseason, with only the New York Yankees among those teams making the playoffs last year. The Indians do believe their elite pitching talent can make up for their relatively low spending, but the White Sox feel like without another signing, they’re a bit off the way of competing for the top spot in the AL Central.