While the KC Royals made just one move at the winter meetings (two if you count acquiring Jendal Gustave from Boston via Houston in the Rule V Draft), the rest of the American League Central was busy.
On Wednesday, I wrote about the moves that the Chicago White Sox had made to bolster their 2015 roster (signing Adam LaRoche, acquiring Jeff Samardzija, and signing closer David Robertson). I had stated that AL Central Division champion Detroit had been quiet.
First, they acquired Alfredo Simon from Cincinnati for infielder Eugenio Suarez and number two prospect Jonathan Crawford. Simon has just one year left on his contract, but broke out last season with the Reds (3.44 ERA in 196.1 innings). Simon has also had his legal troubles, which is nothing new for the Tigers (ie Evan Reed).
Simon has not faced the Royals since his days with Baltimore (August 2, 2011 was the last time he faced the Royals and he allowed one run on four hits over seven innings).
Then they traded starter Rick Porcello to Boston for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The Tigers also received Alex Wilson and minor leaguer Gabe Speier. This gives the Tigers a formidable middle of the order with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and now Cespedes.
However, the Royals have fared well against Cespedes. Jason Vargas has held him to 6-for-27 over the last three seasons, though three of those hits left the ballpark. Cespedes has gone 0-for-5 against Jeremy Guthrie. He went 1-for-4 against Yordano Ventura and 0-for-2 against Danny Duffy. Greg Holland and Jason Frasor both struck him out once (though in three and two at-bats respectively).
Cespedes did fare well against Luke Hochevar (3-for-6 with a home run) and Wade Davis (2-for-5)
So really, a small sample size outside of Vargas.
I forgot to mention in my earlier post that the Tigers acquired starter Shane Greene from the NY Yankees in a three-team trade with Arizona. Greene allowed two unearned runs on five hits and three walks over five innings against the Royals on September 7th. They also acquired outfielder Anthony Gose from Toronto (for their top prospect Devon Travis).
The Tigers will have a new look rotation in 2015, even if they re-sign Scherzer.
Minnesota did not let the Torii Hunter signing be the end for them. They added Ervin Santana for four years and $55 million (yes, the same Santana the Royals wanted to bring back).
Santana adds to the two free agent starters the Twins added for the 2014 season: Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. The Twins had the second-worst pitching staff in terms of ERA last season.
The AL Central looks to be an intriguing division heading into the new year.