AL Central Notes: Chen, La Russa, Buehrle, Tigers

Justin Verlander was the big winner as the 2011 Players Choice Awards were announced today.  Verlander's peers selected him as both the 2011 AL Outstanding Pitcher and the 2011 Player Of The Year.  Could this be an omen for the AL MVP result in a few weeks?

Here's some other news from the AL Central…

  • Bruce Chen tells Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he has already received calls from two teams interested in the veteran southpaw.  Despite this outside interest, Chen says he wishes to remain with the Royals.  "Kansas City has expressed numerous times that they would like to sign me back,” Chen said. “We have a real good relationship, and we’re making progress." 
  • There is "some talk" that Tony La Russa could become a consultant with the White Sox, according to Danny Knobler of (Twitter link).  La Russa, who managed the Sox from 1979-86, would work with rookie manager Robin Ventura.
  • Mark Buehrle is "wide-open" to the possibility of joining a number of different teams, his agent Jeff Berry tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Buehrle has said in the past that he only wished to pitch for the White Sox or his home-state Cardinals, but also said last month that he would be interested in pitching in the National League for the first time in his career.
  • Unlike last winter, the Tigers will take their time in perusing the free agent market this offseason, writes's Jason Beck.
  • A few tweaks at third base, backup catcher and the bullpen could be all it takes to push the Tigers to a championship next year, writes Jamie Samuelsen of the Detroit Free Press.
  •'s Jordan Bastian discusses the Indians' plans for third base next year, the chances of Kosuke Fukudome re-signing in Cleveland and other topics in a reader mailbag.

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