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Rival Roundup, Vol. 45: Tanking

AL Central rumors, uh, weren’t exactly the focus of the weekend.

ROBERT HERJAVEC

It’s a bird! It’s a billionaire TV personality’s private international flight! No, it’s —

RIVAL ROUNDUP, BABY!

  • In the world of real news, the Winter Meetings played host to the drawing for the 2024 MLB Draft lottery. In as weak of a division as the American League Central, it stands to reason that rivals would be involved, but one rival in particular came away with the top pick, just one season removed from a playoff appearance.
  • The Chicago White Sox came away with the #5 pick, and the Kansas City Royals checked in at #6. The Detroit Tigers sit just outside the top 10, picking 11th. Ten picks later, it’s Minnesota’s turn (the Twins also pick again at #33 thanks to compensation.)
  • Speaking of the Tigers, it was a thrilling Winter Meetings for one Mr. Jim Leyland, who was elected to the 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame class.
  • Known quite closely by Twins fans thanks to his 8-year tenure with the Detroit Tigers, Leyland won two pennants in the Motor City and the 1997 championship with the Florida Marlins. Prior to that, he was a skipper for ten years in Barry Bonds-era Pittsburgh, and also apparently hit up the Colorado Rockies for a season. He was a three-time Manager of the Year and managed three All-Star Games (to a 2-1 record.)
  • He’ll no doubt be in the Tiger booth getting his flowers in 2024; he’ll be introduced by Jason Benetti, who provided some more context this week as to his departure from the South Side and transition into Tiger Town.
  • And down in the dugout, it’ll be A.J. Hinch for the foreseeable future, with the controversial manager having agreed to as-yet-undetermined terms.
  • Elsewhere on the field, the White Sox inked right-hander Erick Fedde to a multi-year deal. Fedde was a subpar starter for six years with the Nationals, then went to the KBO in 2023 and promptly got crazy with it. He’ll get another chance stateside.
  • And finally, the Kansas City Royals are...buying? Well, they’re at least looking for starting pitching help by any means necessary, as Zack Greinke is 40, and Jordan Lyles is Jordan Lyles.

Until next weekend!