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Rival Roundup, Vol. 30: All Quiet on the Central Front

As the coastal elites hand out their nine-figure deals, the ALC waits patiently.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a great week for offseason baseball, as the first Winter Meetings in years delivered with a Brinks truck backed up on nearly every corner. Stars are going to Texas, moving from Boston to San Diego, staying in New York, and seemingly using the San Francisco Giants for all their negotiating needs. But one division in particular has been awfully quiet — you guessed it! It’s all us small-market Midwesterners, hunkering down and avoiding the frigid 60-degree weather of southern California. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have time for a little...


  • The Guardians, in dramatic fashion, signed a free agent. I know, I can’t believe it either, but it’s an interesting pick-up! The Nat-turned-Padre-turned-now-Guardian in question is 1B/DH Josh Bell, the switch-hitting slugger-lite with traditionally solid discipline and a good profile for the Guardian organization.
  • Bell will have an opt-out but he could be playing at Progressive through 2024.
  • Adalberto Mondesi and the Kansas City Royals avoided arbitration and reminded me that the 7-year veteran is only 27.
  • Keep an eye out for these two in-division Rule 5 picks: Nick Avila (will be in the Chicago bullpen) and Mason Englert (a potential swingman for the Detroit Tigers.)
  • In non-transactional news, Emmanuel Clase took home a well-deserved honor for the division winners.
  • The Chicago White Sox had perhaps a more disappointing 2022 season than even our hometown favorites. With relative big money tied up in a marquee reliever, the name of a certain Aussie closer has been floated around in trade talks:
  • Whether those trade talks were initiated by the White Sox in an attempt to offload the contract, or merely initiated by other teams trying to buy good assets from an underperforming club, remains to be seen, if it’s seen at all — it’s possible that this tweet is completely forgotten about, nothing ever materializes, and the cells which are storing this information in your brain are cycled out of the hippocampus and never replaced. What then?
  • Finally, our friends at Bless You Boys break down the Tiger trade of reliever Joe Jimenez to the Atlanta Braves. The deal materialized over the trade deadline, and is just now getting done this winter, proving that professional sports executives procrastinate just as much as the rest of us. Now, get back to that project.

Hopefully by this time next week, we’ll all be basking in the glow of a Carlos Correa contract. Until then, happy bask anticipation.