Tuesday, January 29, 2013

AL Central: Going all festival

The Twins weren't the only major league team holding a promotional "fest" last weekend -- with the offweek in the NFL playoffs, it was a good opportunity to get some headlines and remind fans that spring training is just a couple of weeks away.

Around the division's fan fests:

Detroit: Perhaps the biggest question for the Tigers is: Who closes? Jim Leyland, the manager, had an amusing answer and a more sincere one, and the sincere one can be found in the link: Prospect Bruce Rondon is the leading candidate, but Leyland wants to get a sense of his makeup before committing to the kid in the ninth inning.

But I liked this one, from the first day of Tigerfest: This is why I like these forums, so I can think about these things. I don't know what I'm going to do.

Chicago: The ghost of A.J. Pierzynski, who signed with Texas as a free agent, apparently haunted Soxfest. That's understandable: Pierzynski has been a durable, productive catcher who fit well with the South Siders self-image, and nobody really knows what to expect of Tyler Flowers, the heir apparent.

I understand why the Sox let A.J. go. He's in his mid-30s, and he has a lot of mileage on his tires. Catchers typically don't last as long as he has. But I expect the Sox will miss him a great deal. 

Kansas City: Actually held its fanfest the previous week. The Royals, who've been compiling a lineup of talented young position players, were rather aggressive about getting starting pitchers -- Jamie Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Edwin Santana, Wade Davis -- and the organization obviously wants to make its move up the standings now.

I have the sense that the K.C. fan base isn't fully buying it.

Cleveland: Also held its Tribefest the previous week. Hey: Terry Francona! Nick Swisher! A couple of new names the casual fan knows! 

The offseason move that matters most was probably trading for pitching prospect Trevor Bauer, but that's not the kind of guy who packs the autograph lines.

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