Watch CBS News

Can The Twins Contend In The AL Central This Year?

A team-by-team look at the American League Central entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:


Minnesota Twins

Manager: Paul Molitor (fourth season).

2017: 85-77, second place, lost to New York Yankees in wild-card game.

Training Town: Fort Myers, Florida.

Park: Hammond Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Addison Reed, LHP Zach Duke, RHP Michael Pineda.

He's Outta Here: RHP Matt Belisle, RHP Bartolo Colon, C Chris Gimenez, LHP Hector Santiago, LHP Glen Perkins, LHP Buddy Boshers, RHP Michael Tonkin, RHP Dillon Gee.

Going campin': The Twins made a massive 26-win turnaround last season, earning Molitor the AL Manager of the Year award and a new contract through the 2020 season. He'll have a much stronger bullpen to work with this year, after Twins relievers ranked 22nd in the majors with a 4.40 ERA. Rodney and Reed will be the anchors, lessening the pressure on the quartet of returning 26-year-olds Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger, Tyler Duffey and Alan Busenitz. Though the Twins could still add another starting pitcher, a pursuit stalled by the free-agency logjam all around baseball, the prospects for the rotation took a hit when Ervin Santana had surgery this week on his right middle finger that will keep him out until at least mid-April. With Pineda still recovering from Tommy John surgery, RHP Phil Hughes will have another chance to overcome shoulder trouble and re-establish himself as a reliable starter. Another healed-up returner, RHP Trevor May, will be in the mix to start again after Tommy John surgery erased his 2017. The entire starting lineup and some key bench players are back, but all eyes are on third baseman Miguel Sano in his recovery from surgery on the shin that kept him out for the last six weeks of the season. Sano is also under investigation by Major League Baseball for an alleged assault against a woman who brought the accusation forward in December.


Cleveland Indians

Manager: Terry Francona (sixth season).

2017: 102-60, first place, lost to New York Yankees in ALDS.

Training Town: Goodyear, Arizona.

Park: Goodyear Ballpark.

First Workout: Feb. 15/19.

He's Here: 1B-DH Yonder Alonso, OF Melvin Upton Jr., RHP Alexi Ogando.

He's Outta Here: 1B Carlos Santana, OF Jay Bruce, RHP Bryan Shaw, RHP Joe Smith, OF Austin Jackson, LHP Boone Logan.

Going campin': Poised to possibly end their 70-year-old World Series title drought, the Indians, who reeled off 22 straight victories in 2017, didn't even make it back to the AL Championship Series after squandering a 2-0 playoff lead against the Yankees. Unlike last winter, when the club signed DH Edwin Encarnacion in free agency, the Indians were relatively quiet, counting on their core to carry them in '18. Cleveland's rotation, led by two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, remains the team's greatest strength and why the Indians should repeat as division champions. There will be a four-way competition between Josh Tomlin, Danny Salazar, Mike Clevinger and Ryan Merritt for two rotation spots. The loss of run producers Santana and Bruce means the Indians will need more from Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley, two former All-Stars who have battled injuries the past two seasons. Shaw's departure will strain the bullpen, which is counting on elite lefty Andrew Miller to bounce back after he missed significant time last year with knee issues.


Kansas City Royals

Manager: Ned Yost (ninth season).

2017: 80-82, third place.

Training Town: Surprise, Arizona.

Park: Surprise Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: RHP Trevor Oaks, RHP Jesse Hahn, RHP Scott Barlow, RHP Wily Peralta.

He's Outta Here: 1B Eric Hosmer, CF Lorenzo Cain, 3B Mike Moustakas, LHP Jason Vargas, RHP Joakim Soria, LHP Scott Alexander, DH Brandon Moss

Going campin': The Royals could be in complete rebuilding mode after most of the core group that won two AL pennants and the 2015 World Series hit free agency. They managed to re-sign shortstop Alcides Escobar, and remained hopeful heading to spring training that some of the free agents still on the market could return. But they are also prepared for a rebuilding effort, which means young players replacing Cain (who signed with Milwaukee), Hosmer and Moustakas. The Royals will likely platoon at DH after dealing Moss and his hefty contract to Oakland late last month. They are also hoping for a big bounce-back year from left fielder Alex Gordon, who had arguably the worst season of his career. The starting rotation has jobs open, with lefty Danny Duffy and right-handers Jason Hammel and Ian Kennedy the only sure things.


Chicago White Sox

Manager: Rick Renteria (second season).

2017: 67-95, fourth place.

Training Town: Glendale, Arizona.

Park: Camelback Ranch.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: RHP Miguel Gonzalez, C Welington Castillo.

He's Outta Here: C Geovany Soto, RHP Mike Pelfrey, RHP Al Alburquerque, RHP Jake Petricka, OF-2B Alen Hanson, RHP Zach Putnam.

Going campin': For a team with five straight losing seasons and a record that ranked among baseball's worst last year, the White Sox are generating plenty of buzz. That's because they're loaded with promising young players after going all-in on a rebuild prior to last season. The moves have sparked a belief that better days are coming. Second baseman Yoan Moncada and hard-throwing pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez showed promise in the majors last season. RHP Michael Kopech, outfielder Eloy Jimenez and outfielder Luis Robert are on their way in the minors. Other players to watch include outfielder Avisail Garcia, looking to prove he's not a one-hit wonder coming off a breakout year. SS Tim Anderson hopes to bounce back from a trying season in which a close friend got shot to death. And slugger Jose Abreu, viewed as a potential trade candidate this winter, remains in the middle of the lineup. Something else to monitor: LHP Carlos Rodon's rehab. He missed the start of last season because of shoulder and biceps problems and is expected to miss the start of this season after having surgery on his pitching shoulder in September.


Detroit Tigers

Manager: Ron Gardenhire (first season).

2017: 64-98, fifth place.

Training Town: Lakeland, Florida.

Park: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: OF Leonys Martin, RHP Mike Fiers, OF Victor Reyes.

He's Outta Here: Manager Brad Ausmus, 2B Ian Kinsler, RHP Anibal Sanchez, INF Andrew Romine, RHP Bruce Rondon.

Going campin': After finishing tied for the worst record in the majors, the Tigers enter 2018 with expectations as low as they've been in a while. They still have Miguel Cabrera — coming off the worst season of his career — and a bounce-back season from him would go a long way toward helping the team at least be respectable. Right-hander Michael Fulmer (elbow) and designated hitter Victor Martinez (irregular heartbeat) both dealt with health issues last season, but they are expected to be at full strength in spring training. Keep an eye on Jeimer Candelario, a 24-year-old third baseman the Tigers acquired in a trade last season. With Candelario at third, Nicholas Castellanos is preparing to play a lot in the outfield. Left-hander Daniel Norris had a disappointing 2017 but is still just 24, and lefty Matthew Boyd showed potential late last season when he nearly threw a no-hitter.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.