The Indians felt they had a shot at signing Lorenzo Cain to a three-year deal, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes, though they still would have needed to trade another notable contract off the roster to accommodate a Cain signing. Management felt a pursuit of Cain was a risk worth taking, as the Tribe is very familiar with the center fielder’s abilities from his years as a division rival. Cleveland was able to land Edwin Encarnacion on a smaller-than-expected three-year deal last winter due to a slow market, though while Cain’s market also took a while to develop, he still had multiple four-year offers on the table (and eventually landed five years from the Brewers). It isn’t clear if the Tribe is still looking to make a notable outfield addition if they can clear payroll, or if the team was only willing to make such a big splash for Cain specifically.
Some more from around the AL Central…
- With Alcides Escobar on the verge of re-signing with the Royals, GM Dayton Moore still sees Raul Mondesi Jr. as a notable piece of the team’s future, Moore told reporters (including Maria Torres and Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star). Mondesi had been expected to take on a larger role as the everyday shortstop this season, though the additions of Escobar and Ryan Goins as shortstop depth could see Mondesi spend time at other positions. “[Mondesi] can play second base, he can play short, he’s good enough to play center field. We’ll see how that emerges,” Moore said. “We don’t have a clear vision of that right now, other than to simply say that he is a talent that we expect to develop.” It still seems as though K.C. plans to see quite a lot of Mondesi this season, as Moore said that Mondesi’s development is best helped by appearing in “five of six, five of seven” games per week.
- On the flip side, Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen wonders if the Royals may have moved on from Mondesi and are now looking at prospect Nicky Lopez as their shortstop of the future. Some scouts and executives from around the league are troubled by Mondesi’s bat control and lack of plate discipline, as well as concerns about his off-the-field preparation and focus issues. Longenhagen feels that teams with an interest in Mondesi’s potential should be calling the Royals in case Kansas City would be open to trading the shortstop.
- The White Sox will be ready and willing to spend when they move from rebuilders to contenders, GM Rick Hahn told CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine and other reporters. “Ultimately, competing for free agents and targeting big-ticket items and hopefully converting on them will be the next logical step when the time is right,” Hahn said. “Anyone who doubts that we will break from past perception or past process, I believe the evidence is there over the last year that those old standards are gone.” Chicago has explored making some high-profile (and pricey) trades for the likes of Manny Machado and Christian Yelich this winter, and in my opinion, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see the Sox make a play for one of the big-name free agents still on the market. Speaking of Yelich, Hahn said (via Levine’s Twitter) that the White Sox “we were not comfortable going above what we offered” the Marlins in negotiations.
- Alex Wilson will stretch out as a starter in the Tigers’ spring camp, the right-hander tells Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. Just one of Wilson’s 231 MLB appearances has come as a starting pitcher, and even that was a three-inning emergency outing in 2015. Still, Wilson has been a durable multi-inning reliever and feels a transition is possible. As McCosky notes, it’s essentially “a no-risk experiment” for the Tigers since Wilson can always return to his previous bullpen role if the rotation move doesn’t pan out. Wilson posted a 2.47 ERA over 171 1/3 IP from 2014-16, though an inflated homer rate boosted his ERA to 4.50 over 60 frames last season. The righty also said that he is fully recovered from a broken right leg suffered last September.