Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians Only AL Central Teams Left to Make At Least One Baffling Off-Season Move

Which is a fun thing to say.

For most of the mid to late-2000's it was common for Twins fans to ask the same question:  what re-tread free agent are we going to sign this year?  There's an extensive list, and I won't ruin your weekend by listing any of the names here, but suffice it to say it was a bit like Christmas--it just wasn't un-baseball season without it.

Far be it from me to say this philosophy has changed, but 2009 saw none of that.  Minnesota was happy to fill holes from within which, while not guaranteeing ideal production, did guarantee that millions weren't thrown into the fire in the process.  It was as if, for a perfect moment in time, the Twins decided not to spend money in free agency that didn't carry a likely return in W's.

Rumors are circling now of course, around Jarrod Washburn and Doug Davis, although nothing has happened to this point.  It's not late in the off-season yet, but it's getting there, and most of the division has already made their own baffling moves.

Detroit Tigers:  Two years for Jose Valverde worth $14 million, plus a third year option at $9 million, plus a first round draft pick.  This deal smacks pre-recession free agency or, at least, of pre-valuing-draft-picks years.  Probably both.  Nothing like blowing money on a reliever when you're allegedly trying to save money.  Sorry, Curtis Granderson fans, he just wasn't worth it.

Chicago White Sox:  Mark Teahen (signed a new, shiny three-year deal for $14 million), Juan Pierre ($18.5 million over the next two years), Mark Kotsay ($1.5 million), Andruw Jones ($500,000), Omar Vizquel ($1.375 million), J.J. Putz ($3 million).  Three or four years ago these names would have carried a lot of upside:  promise, versatility, defense, power, reliability.  In 2010 some of these pick ups are worse than others, but it's a lot of money and a lot of roster space for what looks like not a great deal of production.

Kansas City Royals:  I thought about Scott Podsednik as a fourth outfielder for the Twins.  Apparently Royals GM Dayton Moore decided Pods deserved a starting role.  Huh.

The Indians haven't done anything silly yet.  Sure, they've signed a lot of ex-Twins (Mike Redmond, Mike Gosling, Brian Buscher, Mark Grudzielanek, Luis Rodriguez), but most of them are on minor league contracts and they give Cleveland some depth.

So...who's next?

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