AL Central Links: Leyland, Willingham, Choo

The White Sox may be in first place in the AL Central but they're apparently going to be making some front office changes this winter.  Here are some more items from around the division….

  • Jim Leyland remains the right person to manage the Tigers, even though the team trails the White Sox in the AL Central, Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press writes. Leyland has questionable job security with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
  • The Twins have a number of offseason needs but manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters (including MLB.com's Zack Meisel) that starting pitching is his team's top priority.
  • Josh Willingham recently said he'd be open to an extension with the Twins, a prospect that Seth Stohs of the Minneapolis Star Tribune thinks the club should wait to explore until after the 2013 season.  Willingham is finishing the first season of a three-year, $21MM contract and I'd agree that Minnesota should be in no rush to extend an outfielder who will be 35 years old when his current deal expires.
  • Shin-Soo Choo's trade value and his worth on the free agent market after 2013 will be limited by his inability to hit left-handed pitching, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Choo, a left-handed hitter, has just a .556 OPS against southpaws this season and a .246/.334/.353 line against lefties for his career.
  • MLB.com's Jordan Bastian looks at the Indians' pitching struggles this season how the Tribe will try to fix the problem this winter.  Pitching upgrades are likelier to come through trades than by spending on free agents, as Bastian asks, "What team should spend big after a 90-plus loss season? The time has come again to shift the focus back to building a better foundation. The current core is not breeding confidence, especially on the mound."

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post


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