Here’s the latest from around the AL Central…
- The Twins’ reported interest in Pedro Alvarez has been “overstated,” a team source tells 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (Twitter link). FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported earlier this week that Minnesota at least held some internal discussion about signing the slugger, who would join Joe Mauer and Kennys Vargas in the first base/DH mix. Wolfson believes the Twins could sign Alvarez only if he could be had on an inexpensive one-year deal.
- Several teams have asked about Indians infielder Erik Gonzalez, though Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer hears from one team source that Gonzalez “is a real possibility” for a utility infield role for the Tribe. Gonzalez, 25, has a .274/.316/.395 slash line over 2986 career plate appearances in Cleveland’s minor league system, and he got his first taste of MLB action last season in the form of 21 games for the Tribe. While he has spent the bulk of his career as a shortstop, Gonzalez also has significant experience at second and third base, plus some time at first, center field and right field. MLBPipeline.com ranks Gonzalez as the eighth-best prospect in Cleveland’s system, praising his defensive work at short and his above-average speed. As Pluto notes, Gonzalez would appear to offer more upside than veteran Michael Martinez, who could be the top competition for a utility infield job.
- “Critical mass” is what White Sox GM Rick Hahn hopes to achieve in terms of stockpiling young talent during the team’s rebuild, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes. The Sox want to add as many good minor leaguers as possible both to give them options now and in the future as depth. “The last few years we’ve had a very top-heavy roster and the reason we haven’t won had nothing to do with the quality players at the top end of that roster,” Hahn said. “When the time comes that we are in a position to contend again, we are going to be approaching that with ideally a much deeper, more thoroughly balanced roster than what we had. It had to do with what was going on with not just one through 25, but one through 35 or 40. So now as we approach this, we have to build that organizational quality depth, not just insurance policies, but real high-caliber depth.”
- Collin Balester took a short break from baseball last summer in the wake of a disappointing stint in South Korea, and the righty tells Anthony Fenech of the Detroit News that he is now healthy and looking forward to continuing his career in the Tigers farm system. Balester said he was at something of a low point last year and even questioned his future in the game. His spirits rose, however, after he began throwing last November without any elbow issues, and Balester then contacted the Tigers about a minor league deal (which he signed in December).