MLB Trade Ideas: Five Moves AL Central Teams Can Make to Become Early Favorites

Christopher Czar@@detsportsczarContributor IMarch 29, 2011

MLB Trade Ideas: Five Moves AL Central Teams Can Make to Become Early Favorites

0 of 5

    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Manager Ron Gardenhire (L) #35 of the Minnesota Twins looks on from the dugout late in the game against the New York Yankees  during Game Three of the ALDS part of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2010 in the B
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    We're counting down the hours to the start of baseball season.  Hopes are high in Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit and not so much in Cleveland and Kansas City, as the AL Central race is about to get under way.

    Most pundits have the Twins, White Sox and Tigers battling it out for the division title while the Royals and Indians play hot potato for last place.

    All of the expected front runners have their weaknesses and could use a little more help as the season rolls on.  There are a bunch of players that will be, or are, available who could help each team in this division.

    I'll propose one player acquisition for each team in the division that could push them over the top as the favorite to win the division.

    For baseball purists, I'm not taking salaries, WAR stats, BABIP, etc., into account here.  This is just for fun and it's trying to match up a player who's either unhappy, on a terrible team or on an expiring contract in his current situation and extracting him from there and putting him on a AL Central team.

Kansas City Royals: No One

1 of 5

    SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  Mike Montgomery #65 of the Kansas City Royals poses for a portrait during Spring Training Media Day on February 23, 2011 at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona..  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    It'd be futile to attempt to name one player that would instantly put the Royals over the top.  That's be like trying to prevent Miley Cyrus from turning into a train wreck.  You know no matter how much you try, what's the point...she's got Lohan Jr. written all over her.

    There are far too many holes on the Royals to even attempt to argue one cure all move.

    However, with five of the top fifty prospects in baseball (including Mike Montgomery—pictured), the Royals are sitting in an excellent position in a few years.  They're just not close to being there yet.

    Trading a young hurler like Zack Greinke was already a little bit of a boneheaded move, so if you're a Royals fan, pray GM Dayton Moore holds the team together and doesn't deal any prospects.

Cleveland Indians: Theo Epstein

2 of 5

    FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 19:  General Manager Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox watches the team during a Spring Training Workout Session at the Red Sox Player Development Complex on February 19, 2011 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Im
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Or any competent GM with an owner who wants to win.

    Again, I can't make an argument for any single player turning around the Indians.  They have more talent than the Royals with guys like Shin Soo Choo, Fausto Carmona, Chris Perez and Carlos Santana, but they need too much to go right to even be .500.

    Cultivating talent has never been an issue with the Indians.  Holding onto it has.  In the last three seasons, the Indians have unloaded CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez while being stuck with guys like Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner whose best days are behind them.

    I feel for Indians fans.  You wonder if Choo and Carmona will survive the trade deadline this year.

Detroit Tigers: Prince Fielder

3 of 5

    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 17: Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a basehit against pitcher Edwin Jackson #33 of the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of the spring training game at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizo
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Cecil Fielder was a well-loved hero in Detroit in the early 1990s.  He was literally the only reason to root for a mediocre Tigers team.  Often times, young Prince was found in tow hanging out during Spring Training with his Dad's Tiger jersey on.

    Prince would fit perfectly in Detroit as a DH.  A middle of the lineup order of Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez and Ryan Raburn would be a blast to watch.

    The drawback of adding Fielder would be making an already suspect defense worse.  With Fielder added, current DH Martinez would replace Alex Avila as the everyday catcher.  Unless Austin Jackson and Brandon Inge grew Elasticman arms, anything not hit directly at the rest of the guys would be trouble...but it would be a fun ride.

Chicago White Sox: Felix Hernandez

4 of 5

    SEATTLE - AUGUST 05:  Starter Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on August 5, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Hernandez would give the White Sox exactly what they are missing, a true ace.

    The Sox rotation is deep with some good No. 2 and No. 3 types in it, but unless Jake Peavy can stay healthy, they don't have anyone to match up with opponents aces.  Peavy is a terrific pitcher, but durability is more than a mild concern.

    Obviously, the White Sox would have to give up a blue chipper like Chris Sale (along with about half of their farm system) to get Hernandez, but unlike the Indians, the Sox have shown they're more than willing to spend and deal. 

    The Mariners have repeatedly said that King Felix isn't going anywhere, but until they surround him with more talent or move him, his efforts in Seattle are futile.

Minnesota Twins: Carlos Marmol

5 of 5

    CHICAGO - JULY 16: Carlos Marmol #49 of the Chicago Cubs waits to pitch in the 9th inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field on July 16, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Phillies 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    I know this doesn't make a ton of sense since Marmol just signed an extension and the Twins are hardly the type of team to pay $8 million for a reliever, but Marmol is the type of player that would immediately bump up a suspect bullpen.

    Joe Nathan is coming off of Tommy John surgery and has looked terrible this spring.   

    Stallwarts Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, Pat Neshek and Brian Fuentes have all been lost from the Cubs bullpen this offseason.  That leaves a lot of pressure on Nathan, Matt Capps and Jose Mirajes.

    Regardless, the Twins are the Twins and they'll be OK with or without a guy like Marmol added to the roster.  They'll still get swept by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.