Here’s the latest from around the AL Central…
- During an appearance on WSCR Radio’s “Inside The Clubhouse” show (hat tip to CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine), White Sox GM Rick Hahn said that discussions with manager Robin Ventura and the coaching staff about their futures with the team will wait until the end of the season. While the Sox have had another underachieving season, the lack of talk isn’t necessarily a sign that Ventura and company could be in trouble, as “we had the same conversations a couple of years back, when he was in the last year of his deal that time,” Hahn said. “Even as a player, [Ventura] played out the last year of his contract, and focused on the end of that particular season. He let the contractual stuff go until the end of the season, and that is our plan at this point.” Ventura quietly signed a two-year extension during the 2013-14 offseason, prior to his last season under his previous contract as Chicago’s skipper.
- Could the qualifying offer keep Mike Napoli in an Indians uniform? Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer floats the idea that the Tribe could extend the one-year QO (rumored to be worth $16.7MM) to Napoli as an attempt at keeping the slugger in the fold without making too lengthy a commitment to a player with a checkered injury history and who is entering his age-35 season. Napoli has enjoyed an outstanding season (.253/.339/.515 with 28 homers in 442 PA) and could certainly be in line for a multi-year deal this winter. If Napoli feels the draft pick compensation attached to the qualifying offer could dampen his market, however, he could also accept the QO and remain on a contender he enjoys playing for, while still taking home a nice payday. It’s certainly one of the more interesting possible QO scenarios in play this winter, assuming of course that the qualifying offer still exists in its current form if the new collective bargaining agreement is finalized before the offseason begins.
- The Royals have disappointed this season, and rival executives tell Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star that the Royals could face a tough time reloading for another quick return to prominence. A lack of quality pitching in the system is one issue, not to mention rule changes to the draft and international spending that have made it harder for smaller-market teams like K.C. to stockpile talent. Dodd’s piece is well worth a full read for a look at what plagued the Royals this season and the challenges they’ll face in the future.