Last week, some of us enjoyed a Christmas weekend amid wind chills in the negative 40s here in Minnesota. Already it feels like the cat days of winter — Santa’s answer to the “dog days,” summer’s harshest stretch of heat — but February is already forecasted to bring lower average temperatures, combined with a still-further removal from the end of the 2022 baseball season, and a likely transactional rut deeper than the one we’ve been in for the last two weeks over the holidays. All this to say, buckle up, folks!
The official spring training kickoff remains weeks away, and in the interim, American League Central rivals have been methodically adding and subtracting from their 40-man rosters (and beyond.) As always, we’ll be taking a look at what pieces are moving, and in what direction, forecasting the impact on the 2023 pennant chase. That’s right, it’s time again for:
RIVAL ROUNDUP, BABYYYYYYY!
- Since last we left off, the Chicago White Sox had dished out a five-year contract to still-just-28-year-old outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
News: OF Andrew Benintendi is in agreement with the Chicago White Sox on a 5 year deal, sources tell ESPN.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) December 16, 2022
- Benintendi has had a bit of a topsy-turvy start to his career, putting up 4.9 fWAR in 2018, then registering just 4.1 fWAR over his next three seasons, including negative value in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. Flipped to the Royals in 2021, Benintendi was an All-Star this season and was sent to the Yankees for 33 games at the end of the 2022 season. Now, he returns to the Central division.
- It’s also the biggest contract in the history of the Chicago White Sox franchise. Hot damn.
- In a similarly depressing vein, South Side Sox covered what they’re calling “the year that broke Chicago White Sox fans.”
- In smaller White Sox contract news, Billy Hamilton has reached the ping-pong stage of his career, and returns to the White Sox on a minor-league deal after playing at Guaranteed Rate in 2021. Hamilton did not record a hit in 17 games with the Twins in 2022 (.000/.125/.000 in eight plate appearances) and ran a -43 OPS+ across two teams. Best of luck, Billiam!
- Free agent starter Jordan Lyles moves from Baltimore to Kansas City, as the Royals complement some of their younger arms with the MLB veteran who’s spent time with seven teams across 12 professional seasons.
Jordan Lyles’ deal with the Royals is two years and $17 million, per source.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 20, 2022
- Lyles enjoyed a relative bounce-back in 2022 after leading the American League in earned runs allowed two years running (2022: 103; 2021: 45) and homers surrendered the season prior (38).
- Last bit of news in an otherwise quiet week — and perhaps the most important. Find out which Detroit Tiger was most representative of Minions: The Rise of Gru in Bless You Boys’ movie-corollary recap.
A very Happy New Year and a safe weekend to all those who read Twinkie Town. We will continue rounding up in 2023 as we get ever closer to the start of spring training!