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AL Central Notes: Jackson, Pelfrey, Garza, Butler

The Tigers have discussed trading Austin Jackson to the Yankees in exchange for Brett Gardner, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports.  Both players have been above-average fielders in center over their careers and have comparable career batting lines, though Gardner is a better base-stealer and Jackson has more doubles pop.  Jackson turns 27 in February, is projected to earn $5.3MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility and he'll hit free agency after the 2015 season; the 30-year-old Gardner is projected to earn $4MM and he'll be a free agent next winter.  I'm not sure this deal makes sense for the Tigers unless they don't think they can sign Jackson (a Scott Boras client) to an extension, or if they aren't interested in extending Jackson.  From the Yankees' side, they like Gardner enough that they probably wouldn't move him for a very similar player, albeit a younger one.

Here are some more items from all five AL Central franchises...

  • The Twins have increased the value of their two-year offer to Mike Pelfrey from $10MM to $12MM, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.  The Rangers and Giants have also shown interest in Pelfrey, Neal reports.
  • Also from Neal, the stumbling block between Matt Garza and the Twins seems to be Garza's demands for a four- or five-year contract, as Minnesota isn't willing to make that long a commitment due to injury concerns.  That said, Neal isn't counting the Twins out of the Garza race yet as he hears the team is still in the hunt (Twitter links).  You can read more about the Twins' hunt for pitching here.
  • The Royals could continue to shop Billy Butler since "Before too long, the DH spot has to be a rotating position for us. It really does," a club official tells Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  For one, the Royals may use Salvador Perez at DH to keep his bat in the lineup when he isn't catching, plus added DH days would help keep Perez healthy.  Even if Butler isn't dealt this offseason, Dutton doesn't believe the Royals will sign him to an extension once his current deal is up.  It was reported earlier today that Butler's name had come up in trade talks with the Blue Jays.
  • The Royals, Indians and Rangers are among the teams interested in Shaun Marcum, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets.  Marcum underwent surgery to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome in July and his agent updated MLBTR's Tim Dierkes on the recovery process last month.
  • The White Sox are looking to cut their payroll from just under $119MM in 2013 to between $89MM-$99MM range for 2014, ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla writes, with the $99MM figure being the likelier of the two.  Despite the cuts on the Major League side, GM Rick Hahn said the club will reinvest the saved money into extra spending on the draft and international signings.
  • In other AL Central news from earlier today, the Tigers reached an agreement with Joba Chamberlain and the Indians were battling with the Padres over Joaquin Benoit.








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