Offseason team needs: AL Central

Welcome to theScore's MLB offseason team needs, in which we'll break down every club's roster and its key free agents, along with how holes could be filled in free agency. Up next is the AL Central.

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Chicago White Sox

Jon Durr / Getty Images Sport / Getty

2018 Record: 62-100 (4th)
Projected 2019 Payroll: $54M
Key free agents: James Shields, Hector Santiago, Jeanmar Gomez
Team needs: Starting pitcher, outfielder, relief pitcher

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos Age
1 Yoan Moncada 2B 23
2 Yolmer Sanchez 3B 26
3 Jose Abreu 1B 31
4 Daniel Palka LF 27
5 Avisail Garcia RF 27
6 Matt Davidson DH 27
7 Omar Narvaez C 26
8 Tim Anderson SS 25
9 Adam Engel CF 26

Projected Rotation

ROLE PITCHER THROWS AGE
1 Carlos Rodon L 25
2 Reynaldo Lopez R 24
3 Lucas Giolito R 24
4 Dylan Covey R 27
5 Manny Banuelos L 27

At $54 million in expected payroll, the White Sox have some flexibility to spend if they so choose, though that total isn't expected to decrease over the next few years with Anderson getting increasingly expensive. While they may be able to afford Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, the core led by Moncada and Giolito didn't especially elicit feelings that this team is close to competing. Add in the fact that Michael Kopech is shelved for the entire year after requiring Tommy John surgery, and this winter might be more about trading away Abreu and Garcia than making any meaningful additions.

Cleveland Indians

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2018 Record: 91-71 (1st)
Projected 2019 Payroll: $127.4M
Key free agents: Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Josh Donaldson, Lonnie Chisenhall, Oliver Perez, Brandon Guyer, Josh Tomlin, Melky Cabrera, Rajai Davis
Team needs: Outfielder, relief pitcher

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos Age
1 Francisco Lindor SS 25
2 Jose Ramirez 3B 26
3 Edwin Encarnacion DH 35
4 Yonder Alonso 1B 31
5 Jason Kipnis 2B 31
6 Tyler Naquin RF 27
7 Yan Gomes C 31
8 Bradley Zimmer CF 26
9 Leonys Martin LF 30

Projected Rotation

ROLE PITCHER THROWS AGE
1 Corey Kluber R 32
2 Carlos Carrasco R 31
3 Trevor Bauer R 27
4 Mike Clevinger R 27
5 Shane Bieber R 23

This team could - and probably should - look a lot different than these projections indicate, as the club is reportedly shopping both Kluber and Carrasco. The return for either pitcher could certainly help add to Cleveland's thin lineup or weakened bullpen. It may seem odd to shop its aces, but the club does boast depth at the position, with Danny Salazar or Adam Plutko potentially rejoining the rotation, Cody Anderson on the mend, and Triston McKenzie cementing his reputation as one of the top pitching prospects.

Detroit Tigers

Kiyoshi Ota / Getty Images Sport / Getty

2018 Record: 64-98 (3rd)
Projected 2019 Payroll: $99.6M
Key free agents: Jose Iglesias, Francisco Liriano, Victor Martinez (retired)
Team needs: Shortstop, outfielder, second baseman, starting pitcher, relief pitcher

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos Age
1 Jeimer Candelario 3B 25
2 Christin Stewart LF 24
3 Nicholas Castellanos RF 26
4 Miguel Cabrera 1B 35
5 Niko Goodrum 2B 26
6 Mikie Mahtook DH 29
7 James McCann C 28
8 Ronny Rodriguez SS 26
9 JaCoby Jones CF 26

Projected Rotation

ROLE PITCHER THROWS AGE
1 Matthew Boyd L 27
2 Michael Fulmer R 25
3 Jordan Zimmermann R 32
4 Daniel Norris L 25
5 Blaine Hardy L 31

The Tigers will likely be making more moves similar to the Pete Kozma minor-league deal they already made - low-risk plays that will get them through the campaign without costing much money. In all likelihood, they will add a starter for depth - but Norris has shown some renewed promise in Arizona Fall League this year and during the Japan Series - and possibly some relief help, though the top-end tandem of Shane Greene and Joe Jimenez isn't bad.

Kansas City Royals

Mark Cunningham / Getty Images Sport / Getty

2018 Record: 58-104 (5th)
Projected 2019 Payroll: $81.6M
Key free agents: Alcides Escobar, Jason Hammel
Team needs: First baseman, outfielder, starting pitcher, relief pitcher

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos Age
1 Whit Merrifield 2B 29
2 Adalberto Mondesi SS 23
3 Alex Gordon LF 34
4 Salvador Perez C 28
5 Jorge Soler DH 26
6 Brett Phillips RF 24
7 Hunter Dozier 3B 27
8 Ryan O'Hearn 1B 25
9 Brian Goodwin CF 28

Projected Rotation

ROLE PITCHER THROWS AGE
1 Danny Duffy L 29
2 Jake Junis R 26
3 Brad Keller R 23
4 Ian Kennedy R 33
5 Eric Skoglund L 26

There's no real way to put this lightly: the Royals were bad and will continue to be bad. That said, there are some things to look forward to for Kansas City fans, such as the continued development of Mondesi, who is already better than Alcides Escobar. Or, the progression of Phillips as a major leaguer, who was the main piece to come over in the Mike Moustakas trade. While Junis and Keller could bloom into something, the pitching - both in the rotation and bullpen - is a chasm and will need to be addressed. But generally, there's reason for optimism with the Royals looking to make low-risk additions.

Minnesota Twins

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2018 Record: 78-84 (2nd)
Projected 2019 Payroll: $70.1M
Key free agents: Logan Morrison, Ervin Santana, Logan Forsythe, Chris Gimenez, Joe Mauer (retired)
Team needs: Second baseman, relief pitcher, starting pitcher

Projected Lineup

Order Player Pos Age
1 Jorge Polanco SS 25
2 Eddie Rosario LF 27
3 Miguel Sano 3B 25
4 Tyler Austin 1B 27
5 Byron Buxton CF 24
6 Jake Cave DH 25
7 Max Kepler RF 25
8 Jason Castro C 31
9 Ehire Adrianza 2B 29

Projected Rotation

ROLE PITCHER THROWS AGE
1 Jose Berrios R 24
2 Kyle Gibson R 31
3 Jake Odorizzi R 28
4 Michael Pineda R 29
5 Adalberto Mejia L 25

The new regime has taken a little while to put its imprint on the Twins' roster, but, in the wake of Mauer's retirement and the hiring of new manager Rocco Baldelli, it'll need to soon. Under the current roster construction, there are a lot of question marks, and they'll all need answering in short order. Is Sano any good? What about Buxton? Either way, the rotation will be built around budding ace Berrios, and while the farm system seems strong, the lineup lacks much depth, even if everyone plays at or near their peak performances.

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Offseason team needs: AL Central
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