The Cubs staked their claim to the lion's share of Chicago baseball media coverage for the foreseeable future by winning two bidding wars this week -- the first for Ben Zobrist, and the second for Jason Heyward, which means...
Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs for Winning the Winter! Nothing but good things ahead! pic.twitter.com/oOlurfFEf0— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) December 11, 2015
Given the existing talent involved, the splurge will probably work out better on the North Side. But here's some solace for White Sox fans: Not only are the Cubs in the other league, but next year's crosstown series is only four games instead of six. That won't relieve all the frustration on the South Side, but it's good to keep the practical implications in mind.
It's more useful to focus on the AL Central, since that's the direct competition when the games actually start. Let's catch up on what happened to the other guys over the last week.
During: Brought back Chris Young (the pitcher) for two more years, and signed Joakim Soria to a three-year, $25 million contract with a mutual option for a fourth season. He effectively replaces Ryan Madson, but he does have incentives for games started, which is a little strange since Soria has worked exclusively in the bullpen during his MLB career.
Irons in fire: They're hunting for an outfielder, and there remains of a sliver of hope that Alex Gordon will remain a Royal, which would help since they've lost Zobrist and aren't factors in the bidding for Johnny Cueto. However, Dayton Moore is said to be looking at a trade, maybe for one of Colorado's outfielders.
Irons in fire: They're also actively looking for a third baseman, which means they've been linked to Todd Frazier. There's also rumored interest in Rajai Davis and Steve Pearce in free-agent talks. Trade-wise, any team in need of starting pitching is talking to them, but they're reluctant to deal any of their young guns.
During: Continued reinforcing their bullpen with the double-barreled acquisitions of righty Mark Lowe (two-year deal) and Justin Wilson (trade with the Yankees), and signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia as a backup catcher.
Irons in fire: Al Avila doesn't have much left on his list, except for a utility man and perhaps an outfield solution more reliable than Cameron Maybin.