2013 RECORD: 63-99. KEY ADDITIONS: 1B Jose Abreu (pictured), LHP Scott Downs, OF Adam Eaton. BIGGEST LOSSES: RHP Addison Reed, LHP Hector Santiago. 2014 OUTLOOK: Chicago’s biggest move this offseason was the acquisition of Abreu, the 26-year-old power-hitting Cuban first baseman who inked a six-year, $68 million deal. He’ll give Chicago a big bat in the middle of the lineup. Outside of the Abreu signing, though, the White Sox didn’t do much else to make anyone believe that they’ll climb out of the AL Central cellar in 2014. They lost Reed, who saved 40 games for them in 2013. Offense was a big problem for Chicago last year, and the addition of Abreu can only do so much to patch an otherwise thin lineup.
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesYuki Taguchi
2013 RECORD: 92-70. KEY ADDITIONS: RHP John Axford, OF David Murphy (pictured). BIGGEST LOSSES: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, OF Drew Stubbs, RHP Chris Perez, RHP Joe Smith. 2014 OUTLOOK: Cleveland gave Detroit a run for its money atop the AL Central standings last year but fell just a game short. Now the Indians must overcome the losses of key bullpen arms Perez and Smith, as well as Jimenez, who remains a free agent. The signing of Axford will help the bullpen, but Cleveland hasn’t done much to upgrade its lineup -- which was among the better offenses in the Central last year. If the Indians’ offense can’t repeat its performance from 2013, Cleveland could drop in the standings this upcoming season.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsGary A. Vasquez
2013 RECORD: 93-69. KEY ADDITIONS: 2B Ian Kinsler, RHP Joe Nathan (pictured), RHP Joba Chamberlain, OF Rajai Davis. BIGGEST LOSSES: 1B Prince Fielder, RHP Doug Fister, RHP Joaquin Benoit. 2014 OUTLOOK: The Tigers made two big trades this winter, dealing Fielder to Texas in exchange for Kinsler and trading Fister to Washington for three players. Fielder was a key cog in Detroit’s lineup the last two seasons as he topped 25 homers and 100 RBI both years. Fister, meanwhile, was a 14-game winner in 2013. Kinsler should be a nice addition and will pair well with young shortstop Jose Iglesias. Nathan, meanwhile, gives the Tigers a veteran closer with the departure of Benoit. Detroit may have lost two big pieces this offseason, but it should still be a favorite to win the AL Central again in 2014.
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY SportsPeter Aiken
Kansas City Royals
2013 RECORD: 86-76. KEY ADDITIONS: OF Norichika Aoki (pictured), LHP Jason Vargas, 3B Danny Valencia. BIGGEST LOSSES: 2B Chris Getz, LHP Will Smith, OF David Lough. 2014 OUTLOOK: There were definitely signs of progress in Kansas City in 2013 after the Royals were aggressive last offseason. Kansas City improved by 14 games from 2012, and could continue to climb in the division this year. Aoki, acquired from Milwaukee, is a solid addition to the outfield and should be able to steal a few bases for the Royals. Vargas, 30, joins a rotation that was among the best in baseball last year thanks to strong years from James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie. Kansas City should be able to overcome the losses of Getz and Lough. Don’t be surprised if this Royals team finishes better in the standings than it did in 2013 when it was third behind Detroit and Cleveland.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY SportsBenny Sieu
2013 RECORD: 66-96. KEY ADDITIONS: RHP Ricky Nolasco, RHP Phil Hughes (pictured), C Kurt Suzuki, OF Jason Kubel. BIGGEST LOSSES: C Ryan Doumit. 2014 OUTLOOK: Compared to the rest of the division, the Twins have been the most active in free agency this offseason. Starting pitching was a major concern for Minnesota, so it went out and signed Nolasco and Hughes, and also brought back Mike Pelfrey on a two-year deal. The rotation should be improved from last season, when it ranked as the worst in baseball. Offense remains a question mark for the Twins. The signings of Suzuki and Kubel add a veteran presence to the lineup, but Minnesota might still struggle to score runs in 2014 if some of its younger players don’t progress.