Danny Worth Rumors
A rebuilt Indians club should add to the mix of what was a competitive AL Central Division race during the 2012 season. While the Royals and Twins aren't expected to be much of a factor in 2013, the Indians, Tigers and White Sox may find themselves fighting for a playoff spot well into September. Let's catch up on the latest news and headlines from around the division.
- Scott Kazmir told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com that he had a variety of offers to choose from but chose to sign with the Indians mostly due to the presence of manager Terry Francona (via Twitter). The 29-year-old lefty signed a minor league deal with Cleveland in December and will be given an opportunity to crack the squad's starting rotation.
- The Twins remain uninterested in signing free agent Freddy Sanchez, who has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons, writes Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). Sanchez, 35, last appeared in over 100 games during the 2010 season with the Giants where he posted a batting line of .292/.342/.397.
- The Tigers remain in need of a right-hander off the bench and will look to find the right piece internally before exploring the free-agent market, says Jason Beck of MLB.com. According to GM Dave Dombrowski, Danny Worth and Jeff Kobernus will receive heavy consideration for the open spot on the roster.
"He's a real special player who means a lot to our community," Dombrowski explained at the MLB General Manager Meetings in Milwaukee. "He's been a Tiger since the day he was drafted and he'll be with us for a long time."
Verlander would have been a free agent this offseason had he not signed his current five-year, $80MM contract before the 2010 season. There's no telling what Verlander would have been worth coming off a season like this, so it's no surprise Dombrowski's glad to have locked the right-hander up for three of his free agent seasons.
Looking ahead to 2012, the Tigers want to get Ryan Raburn's bat in the lineup and may play him at second base at times next year. Danny Worth is another second base candidate for the Tigers, who are also weighing external options.
Wilson Betemit met Dombrowski's expectations after joining the Tigers in a midseason trade, but the GM anticipates adding an extra catcher this offseason, which will limit the Tigers' roster flexibility in 2012. The Tigers haven't pursued Betemit aggressively to this point and Dombrowski didn't suggest that will change. The Tigers want to keep Victor Martinez in the everyday lineup, so adding a backup for Alex Avila is on the agenda this winter.
Everett re-signed his second one-year deal with the Tigers this offseason, following a .238/.288/.325 line in 2009. That limited production may have justified Everett's value when combined with his stellar glove (15.4 career UZR/150 at shortstop), but the 33-year-old has struggled mightily at the plate this season. Everett owns just a .185/.221/.247 line this year through 89 plate appearances. He's been hampered somewhat by a strained hamstring as well.
Worth, 24, was 8-24 (all singles) in 25 plate appearances with the Tigers earlier this year. Through 176 minor league PAs this season, he's hitting .287/.330/.354 while seeing time at third base, shortstop, and second base.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes about Jack Wilson:
Only the Minnesota Twins are known to be interested, but the Los Angeles Dodgers could come back if their bid to re-sign free agent Rafael Furcal falls short.
Ken Rosenthal chimes in that the Astros could become an option if they first overcome the "extremely slim" odds against trading Miguel Tejada. Kovacevic adds that in the Pirates' final Wilson proposal to the Tigers a few days ago they sought shortstop prospect Danny Worth and one of the team's top pitching prospects.