AL Central Notes: Eldred, Gordon, Carmona

It was on this day in 1993 that Tigers legend Charlie Gehringer passed away at the age of 89.  Gehringer spent his entire 19-year career in Detroit, finishing with a .320/.404/.480 career line, the 1937 AL MVP Award, a 1935 World Series championship and induction into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.  Gehringer is still among the Tigers' franchise leaders in virtually every offensive category and is widely regarded as one of the game's greatest second basemen.

Some items from Detroit and elsewhere in the AL Central…

  • The Tigers signed first baseman Brad Eldred to a minor league contract that doesn't include an invitation to the team's Major League Spring Training camp.  Eldred, 31, has an .870 OPS and 227 homers over 10 minor league seasons but has seen just 282 plate appearances in the bigs, his most recent cup of coffee coming with the Rockies in 2010.  Eldred hit .278/.351/.536 for the Giants' Triple-A affiliate last season.
  • The Royals shouldn't wait to sign Alex Gordon to an extension, argues Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.  Mellinger thinks Michael Cuddyer's three-year, $31.5MM pact with the Rockies could be "the general framework" for a new Gordon deal, and both Gordon and Cuddyer are represented by agent Casey Close.  Mellinger thinks a four-year, $35MM contract would fair to both sides; that's about $5MM higher than what MLBTR's Tim Dierkes guessed a Gordon extension would look like last August.
  • Jon Heyman of thinks the Indians should release Roberto Hernandez Heredia (a.k.a. Fausto Carmona) and use the saved salary on an available pitcher like Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson or Livan Hernandez.
  • Melissa Segura of Sports Illustrated looks at how teams pay much larger median bonuses to 16-year-old Latin American prospects, when a much smaller percentage of those young prospects actually reach the majors.  While players like Carmona have knowingly committed age and identity fraud, Segura argues that "by placing such high premiums on 16-year-olds, teams are fooling themselves."