The White Sox finally started stirring in the past week with a couple of moves that put them in the direction of true problem-solving. Trading for bullpen depth wasn't on the top of anybody's lists, nor was Tommy Kahnle by name, but here he is nevertheless. Rick Someone quickly followed by signing Alex Avila to acknowledge and address one of the known vulnerabilities at catcher.
And that's more than a lot of teams have accomplished thus far. The hot stove hasn't been quiet -- it's just been lopsided. Jerry Dipoto wasted no time reconfiguring the Seattle Mariners in his image, the Angels are keeping him honest, and the Braves accelerated their rebuilding.
Elsewhere, teams are still waiting for the offseason to flesh out. If you take the words from the White Sox front office at face value -- and there's no real reason to -- it seems like they're being wishy-washy and indecisive, but they did respond to the accelerating (ha) veteran catcher market before everybody useful had been taken.
And that might be good enough to qualify them as the second-most active team in the AL Central at this point.
I say "might" because the Twins made a similar move by trading Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy, addressing the same roster spot as the Avila signing, but with more ambition (although they also won the Byung Ho Park posting, which would put them over the top if they finish it). The Indians, on the other hand, have acquired Kirby Yates for cash, while the Royals have yet to show whether the World Series title will allow them to keep the players they added in their push to do so.
That leaves the Tigers, who have taken the decisive early lead as the Central's hyperactive team. While circumstances forced them to take a step back at the deadline this past season, they're back on their traditional win-now track, trading for Francisco Rodriguez and replacing Rajai Davis by bringing Cameron Maybin back to the womb.
Now they're looking bigger:
Jordan Zimmermann has agreed to 5 yr, $110M deal with #Tigers pending physical. @JonHeymanCBS first to report.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 29, 2015
New Detroit GM Al Avila was unusually blunt about a move like this one, because he specifically said that he wanted to add two starters to the rotation. Of course, that was also around the same time that the Tigers were supposedly fixing to fire Brad Ausmus, but he's still at the helm, even if he's being retained under circumstances even more awkward than the ones under which Robin Ventura is operating. Say what you will about the Sox, but even if they're employing a manager who is over his head, they haven't compounded the problem by leaking dissatisfaction to the media (even if it might be better for their reputation among fans).
Given Mike Ilitch's history, the Tigers stood a far lower chance of backtracking on adding arms, and now the division has a Zimmermann telegram to respond to, if you will. And you should.