Last winter, I couldn't say the Kansas City Royals' moves scared me, but beyond the stating of facts -- recent histories of Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios, for instance -- I kept stronger reactions in check. They defied skeptics all the way to Game 7 of the World Series in 2014, and that earned them some benefit of the doubt.
After knocking off the Mets in five games in this year's World Series, the Royals now have all of it. They were impervious to Rios' worst, so I couldn't really laugh if they replaced Alex Gordon with Gordon Beckham.
They're also just the second AL Central team to win the World Series. Everybody here knows the other one.
Anyway, let's allow Frank Thomas to put a button on the Series and move on.
First item of business -- the White Sox have to make a decision within three days of the World Series to pick up or decline Alexei Ramirez's $10 option for 2016. We went over the decision in detail with our offseason plan roundup, but that post centered on whether the White Sox should retain Ramirez for one more season (and it was about 50/50).
It didn't really answer whether the White Sox will retain Ramirez, though. I'm guessing they'll exercise the option, simply because $9 million -- the effective cost of the commitment, since he has a $1 million buyout -- isn't prohibitive for an up-the-middle starter, and while Ramirez's flaws might be exacerbated by his decline, he's still the devil they know.
After that, the White Sox will continue their search for a bench coach and an assistant hitting coach, although there's already a leading candidate for the latter:
I'm hearing that Athletics minor league hitting coordinator Greg Sparks will be the #WhiteSox asst. hitting coach.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) October 29, 2015
The rest of the business will be on the league's schedule. Here are some key dates for the first month of baseball's winter:
Nov. 7: Free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. EST (corrected).
Nov. 9-12: General managers meetings in Boca Raton, Fla.
Nov. 10: Find out if Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon are finalist for awards they won't win, and whether we can put more trust in Gold Glove awards.
Nov. 12: Find out if Jose Abreu defends his Silver Slugger.
Nov. 16: Find out how many Rookie of the Year votes Rodon received.
Nov. 18: Find out how many Cy Young votes Sale received.
Nov. 19: Find out whether Abreu received MVP votes.
Nov 26: Thanksgiving. Family first, after all.