AL Central Ratings: Twins, IKF, Tigers, Anderson, Boyd, White Sox

Tea Twins and Rangers combined on one of the most interesting early moves of the post-lockout period, agreeing to a trade earlier today that will see Isiah Kiner-Falefa and pitching prospect Ronny Henriquez head to Minnesota, while catcher Mitch Garver was dealt to Texas. Speaking with reporters (including MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park) about the deal, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said the Twins were first in touch about Kiner-Falefa before the lockout, and Garver wasn’t initially part of trade talks until it became that such a notable price was necessary to pry Kiner-Falefa away from the Rangers.

While the presence of Ryan Jeffers ultimately made Garver expendable, Minnesota now has a new everyday shortstop, and a player who has generally looked like one of the league’s better defensive players no matter where Texas lined him up on the diamond. Kiner-Falefa said he is happy to be getting an opportunity to start at what he considers his natural position of shortstop, and his addition means that the Twins can now keep Jorge Polanco at second base.

More from around the AL Central…

  • With Eduardo Rodríguez signed as the new headliner of the Tigers rotation, the team continues to look for more veteran help to fill a fourth or fifth starter role. According to Evan Petzold of The Detroit Free Press, the Tigers had interest in Tyler Anderson both before and after the lockout, though they are “not aggressively pursuing Anderson” at the moment. For some familiar AL Central names, Detroit is also not making a particular push towards free agent Michael Pinedaand the Tigers weren’t looking at Carlos Rodon before Rodon signed with the Giants yesterday.
  • A former Tiger is under consideration, however, as Petzold writes that the Tigers are among the multiple clubs interested in Matthew Boyd, who was untended by Detroit in November. Boyd’s projected $7.3MM arbitration price tag was too expensive for the Tigers considering that the southpaw was hampered by injuries last season and underwent flexor tendon surgery in September. Boyd’s recovery will extend into the season but he is aiming to return by June 1.
  • The pitching concerns might be a little heavier on our mind than the position player side of things,” White Sox GM Rick Hahn told The Athletic’s James Fegan and other reporters in discussing his club’s remaining targets during the offseason. With so many available arms already flying off the board, Fegan guesses that bolstering the back end of the rotation now looks like a more immediately priority for the Sox than addressing other needs like second base or the outfield. White Sox manager Tony La Russa told Fegan and other reporters today that pitching depth will be particularly important this season given the shortened Spring Training, though La Russa said his club is still aiming for a five-man rotation rather than a six-man staff.

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