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Rival Roundup, Vol. 11: What’s happening now!!

Catching up around the division after a holiday break.

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Welcome back to another edition of the hit month, January. It’s been a long break between seasons, resulting in one of the most highly-anticipated premieres in history. I wonder if there was any turnover on the writing staff.

Chicago White Sox

  • The White Sox continued their trademark method of scooping up as much Cuban talent as is allowed by major league roster regulations. As December waned, Chicago picked up an outfielder with a familiar surname.
  • Yes, that’s the half-brother of Yoenis Cespedes, who’s had a rocky career (including three trades in a calendar year!) but has nonetheless mashed when healthy. Almost a year ago, this Cespedes was ranked number one on MLB.com’s list of the top 30 international prospects of 2020.
  • While Cespedes entered the league at age 26, Cespedes — the new one — is still just 23 years old, which could lead to a younger debut for the younger brother. I don’t think anyone thought Adam Eaton was a long-term outfield solution, but this is a tangible indication of a future mainstay at the position.
  • Eloy Jimenez/Luis Robert/Yoelki Cespedes could be a frightening outfield combination in three years — and they’d all still be 26 or younger. This is just another reason why the Chicago White Sox organization should be contracted as soon as possible, before it’s too late and we regret our inaction.

Cleveland Spiders, Perhaaaaaaps?

  • The Cleveland Careys (just a hunch) have launched a fan involvement survey on their website regarding the impending franchise rebranding. Looks like the survey isn’t out yet, but registered applicants may be delivered a follow-up e-mail informing them of their selection for the process.

Detroit Tigers

  • The Kitties have picked up free-agent righty Jose Urena.
  • To make room for the career Marlin, Detroit DFA’d Mr. Eric Haase, who leaves behind a legacy of 19 plate appearances in the Motor City.
  • The deal is for $3.25MM with incentives, a few ticks lower than his projected four-million arbitration salary that led to his non-tendering by Miami. 2021 will be Urena’s sixth year in the major leagues, having posted a positive ERA+ just once in his career (a 104 mark in 2017.)
  • A couple weeks ago, it was announced that Tiger prospect Alex Faedo will require Tommy John surgery. Faedo might have debuted with Detroit last season, but a positive COVID test kept him out of action as things were ramping back up. Faedo was a top-20 pick in the 2017 draft, and is another compelling pitching prospect in a system full of them.
  • The Tigers also grabbed 33-year-old Dustin Garneau on a minor-league catching contract.

Kansas City Royals

  • I can’t say I saw this one coming, but the Royals have offered a minor-league deal to old friend Ervin Santana.
  • Santana is a great example of the well-worn maxim, “life comes at you fast.” Sure, he was a veteran starter with plenty of mileage on the limbs. But in 2017, he put up a 3.28 ERA and made an All-Star team with a playoff Twins team. In 2018, his ERA shot up to 8.03, and somehow went further to 9.45 with the White Sox in ‘19. He didn’t play at all last year, and I’m sure most people thought his major-league career had been unceremoniously wrapped up.
  • Not so! Instead, Santana reunites with the Royals, where he went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA back in 2013. Santana’s rejection of a qualifying offer that offseason led to a one-year “prove it” deal with the Braves, which in turn led to his deal with the Twins.

And so the offseason ticks on...