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MLB: Offseason Needs: AL Central

Another season of baseball is in the books, and the Boston Red Sox stand as the new World Series Champions. Now, a potentially wild offseason could potentially shake the entire league, for better or worse. As playoff-caliber teams look to reinforce their solid foundations, other teams will have very steep mountains to climb.

These ball clubs will have more offseason needs to address, and may not be able to solve every single one. Let’s take a look at what these few teams will need to make 2019 a brighter session, starting with the AL Central.

Off-Season Needs: Kansas City Royals

2018 Result: 58-104, Last in AL Central

How is it that a team who won the World Series merely three years ago, proceed to miss the playoffs three straight seasons? It is beyond unfortunate to see a team rise and fall so quickly and so hard. Baltimore’s pitchers had the worst ERA of 2018, then Kansas City’s had the second worst. KC will be one of many teams in need of pitchers for the future. Not to mention Mike Moustakas was traded away during the regular season. But unlike Baltimore, the Royals still have their star player, in catcher Salvador Perez. General manager Dayton Moore and President of Baseball Operations Dan Glass will need to hunker down this off-season. With free agency and an MLB draft to prepare, the Royals will have to play all of their cards right to return the team to their 2015 form.

Off-Season Needs: Chicago White Sox

2018 Result: 62-100, 4th in AL Central
Off-season needs
Image courtesy of The Chicago Tribune

With the youngest roster in the majors, the Chicago White Sox will need leaders to step up. It’s great that the roster has youth, but not everyone can pull off what the Atlanta Braves did with their young guns this season. Chicago will have numerous departments to address both on offense and defense. Neither of which were anything to write home about. Their fielding tallied the fourth highest amount of errors in 2018. Their batting and pitching felt flat as well. Do not be shocked to see manager Rick Renteria on the hot seat soon. In his two seasons as the White Sox’s skipper, his managerial record with the team sits below .400. The White Sox front office will be feeling more pressure to turn things around, including general manager Rick Hahn. Since Hahn took on the role in 2013, the White Sox have not made it to October.

Off-Season Needs: Detroit Tigers

2018 Result: 64-98, 3rd in AL Central

The Detroit Tigers will have a steep hill to climb in the near future. Not to mention they have not seen playoff action since 2014. The Tigers’ mantra in their offseason needs is “Next Man Up”. With Miguel Cabrera in his mid-30’s, Detroit will need younger names on offense to take the pressure off of Miggy. The same will need to be said for their pitching staff, because both departments fell flat in 2018. Yes, they did well in drafting a pitcher first overall in the past MLB draft, but one player is not always enough to spark a significant turn of events immediately.

Off-Season Needs: Minnesota Twins

2018 Result: 78-84, 2nd in AL Central
Off-season needs
2016 was a year to forget for Joe Mauer and the Twins (AaronGleeman.com)

The Twins did not have an atrocious season in 2018., but they had one slip up too many, which was more enough for Cleveland to take advantage and run away with the division pennant. The Twins’ damage output was not up to par with expectations. But next to the previously mentioned franchises, Minnesota looked like the Boston Red Sox,execution-wise. The Twins run in the middle of the MLB pack, in terms of batting and fielding. But their pitching is need of improvement. The average age of the roster does not do them any favors, as the Twins are the eighth oldest roster as of now. Minnesota will have a new skipper next season in Rocco Baldelli. Hopefully, the front office can find young hungry players both in free agency and in the 2019 draft to reinforce the depth of the 40-man roster.

Off-Season Needs: Cleveland Indians

2018 Result: 91-71, 1st in AL Central, Eliminated in ALDS

Being the only team in this division with a winning record, you think the Cleveland Indians have it made compared to the others. But, as the old saying goes, there is always room for improvement. Boasting the second oldest roster in the MLB won’t do them any favors moving forward. Like the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland will need to add more youth to their 40-man roster. This will be especially crucial when one of their starters go down. With Corey Kluber, Jason Kipnis and Edwin Encarnacion now in their 30s, youth will also help further increase production and prolong their dominance over the AL Central. Those young players will have to be as hungry as the next guy to pull it off.

 

Featured image courtesy of Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
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