AL Central Notes: White Sox, Twins, Indians

After last night's Matt Thornton trade sent a veteran player to greener pastures, the White Sox team faces a few weeks of speculation backed by the knowledge that some rumors will come to fruition. Dan Hayes of gathered some interesting material from the Chicago clubhouse. Fellow reliever and trade candidate Jesse Crain, for instance, said that the team now realizes that it is in for a lot of changes: "With him being traded, you know it's going to happen. That kind of opens the door." Likewise, manager Robin Ventura acknowledged that the deal makes things harder. "Any time these guys read a paper or look at the names floating around, now one of them is true," Ventura explained. "It does become a little tougher because it was a rumor before, but now something has happened." Indeed, the White Sox could move any number of its veterans before the deadline. Here are a few notes elsewhere in the American League's Central division:

  • The Twins ownership approved a "much higher payroll" for 2013 than the team's front office elected to utilize, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN. Of course, as Ben Nicholson-Smith explained in reviewing the Twins' offseason for MLBTR, the true arguable failure was not the decision to withhold from spending, but rather the failure to deploy funds in a way that would give the team some upside (either generating an outside shot at contention or building trade chips). 
  • Indeed, the Twins seem to have little prospect of significant returns among the team's free agent signings. While Mike Pelfrey could be dangled, he would hardly bring much in return after a poor first half. Fellow starter Kevin Correia has produced better results and could garner some attention, but as Nicholson-Smith noted in March, his value is limited by the seeming over-pay he received from Minnesota. (While Correia does come with another year of control, he has produced only .5 fWAR to date and will be owed $5.5MM in his age-33 season.)
  • Although the Indians remain viable contenders, Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal writes that the team should stick with its multi-year rebuilding plan rather than going for broke. With too many holes to fill this year, Ocker recommends a conservative trade deadline strategy in which the team explores additions with longer-term value but otherwise hopes that its current club can hang in the division with its present constitution.

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