Grading MLB's front offices: AL Central
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With the 2020 season on pause, theScore's MLB editors graded each team's front office by the moves made since Nov. 1, 2017. For executives hired following that date, only the moves they made after taking over were graded. Grades are relative to what the team is trying to accomplish, and only the most notable transactions were considered. We continue with the American League Central.


Chicago White Sox

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Executive: Rick Hahn
Title: Senior vice president/general manager
Hired: Oct. 26, 2012

It's been seven seasons since Hahn took over for Kenny Williams. The White Sox have placed no higher than third with Hahn at the helm, but things are starting to look up on the South Side.

This past offseason, the White Sox exec nabbed one of free agency's top players in Yasmani Grandal, acquired a former Cy Young winner in Dallas Keuchel, and managed to lock youngsters Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert into long-term deals.

Hahn also extended Jose Abreu for three years and made other savvy moves (like adding Edwin Encarnacion, Gio Gonzalez, Steve Cishek) to surround a young core of Lucas Giolito and Yoan Moncada with players who've been to the postseason.

While Hahn's recent success earned him an A, he didn't get full marks because the Welington Castillo and Kelvin Herrera deals stand out as misfires.

The good 👍:

  • Luis Robert signed six-year, $50M extension
  • Eloy Jimenez signed six-year, $43M extension
  • Alex Colome acquired from Mariners for Omar Narvaez
  • Joakim Soria, Luis Avilan acquired in three-team deal for Jake Peter
  • James McCann signed one-year, $2.5M deal
  • Xavier Cedeno signed minor-league deal
  • Evan Marshall signed minor-league deal
  • Jimmy Cordero claimed off waivers from Mariners

The bad 👎:

  • Kelvin Herrera signed two-year, $18M deal
  • Welington Castillo signed two-year, $15M deal
  • Jon Jay signed one-year, $4M deal
  • Yonder Alonso acquired from Indians for Alex Call
  • Ivan Nova acquired from Pirates for Yordi Rosario, slot money
  • Manny Banuelos acquired from Dodgers for Justin Yurchak

TBD 🤔:

  • Yasmani Grandal signed four-year, $73M deal
  • Dallas Keuchel signed three-year, $55.5M deal
  • Jose Abreu re-signed three-year, $50M deal
  • Edwin Encarnacion signed one-year, $12M deal
  • Nomar Mazara acquired from Rangers for Steele Walker
  • Steve Cishek signed one-year, $6M deal
  • Gio Gonzalez signed one-year, $5M deal

Grade: A-

Cleveland Indians

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Executive: Chris Antonetti, Mike Chernoff
Title: President of baseball operations, general manager
Hired: Oct. 6, 2015

In three consecutive seasons after Antonetti and Chernoff took over their current positions, the Indians won the AL Central, and they were nearly crowned World Series champions in 2016.

Cleveland took a step back in 2019 but still won 93 games thanks to a savvy front office that pulled off tremendous deals despite a restrictive payroll. Trades for Brad Hand, Oscar Mercado, and Carlos Santana stand out as some of the team's best.

Recently, though, the Indians' moves look less appealing, and they might end up overshadowing the good things that Antonetti and Chernoff accomplished.

They made unpopular decisions in trading Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer and, this past offseason, the two executives didn't do much to contend with the rising Twins and White Sox in free agency.

Plus, constant trade rumors involving Francisco Lindor and the front office's inability to sign the star to an extension appear to have created a rift between the two sides. This doesn't bode well for the franchise with Lindor entering free agency at the end of 2021.

The good 👍:

  • Brad Hand, Adam Cimber acquired from Padres for Francisco Mejia
  • Carlos Santana, Jake Bauers acquired in three-team deal for Edwin Encarnacion, Yandy Diaz, Cole Sulser
  • Josh Donaldson acquired from Blue Jays for Julian Merryweather
  • Oscar Mercado acquired from Cardinals for Conner Capel, Jhon Torres
  • Oliver Perez signed one-year, $1.75M deal
  • Jordan Luplow, Max Moroff acquired from Pirates for Erik Gonzalez, Dante Mendoza, Tahnaj Thomas
  • Nick Wittgren acquired from Marlins for Jordan Milbrath
  • Melky Cabrera signed minor-league deal
  • Tyler Clippard signed minor-league deal

The bad 👎:

  • Corey Kluber traded to Rangers for Emmanuel Clase, Delino DeShields
  • Cameron Maybin traded to Yankees for cash

TBD 🤔:

  • Yasiel Puig, Franmil Reyes, Logan Allen, Victor Nova, Scott Moss acquired in three-team deal for Trevor Bauer
  • Yan Gomes traded to Nationals for Jefry Rodriguez, Daniel Johnson, Andruw Monasterio
  • Cesar Hernandez signed one-year, $6.25M deal
  • Domingo Santana signed one-year, $1.5M deal
  • Sandy Leon acquired from Red Sox for Adenys Bautista

Grade: B

Detroit Tigers

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Executive: Al Avila
Title: Executive vice president/general manager
Hired: Aug. 4, 2015

For the majority of Al Avila's tenure as Tigers GM, he's been focused on rebuilding a team that won four straight division titles from 2011-14 but hasn't put up more than 64 victories in the past three seasons.

Some of Avila's free-agent bargains and waiver-wire claims have panned out (Mike Fiers, Brandon Dixon), but the minor-league signing of super-utility player Niko Goodrum and the trade acquisition of Willi Castro are his most notable pickups in recent memory.

The contracts given to Tyson Ross, Jordy Mercer, and Josh Harrison, as well as the return for Nick Castellanos, go down as big misses, although this offseason's free-agent haul of C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Austin Romine, and Cameron Maybin is intriguing.

The good 👍:

  • Niko Goodrum signed minor-league deal
  • Mike Fiers signed one-year, $6M deal
  • Brandon Dixon claimed off waivers from Reds
  • Leonys Martin signed one-year, $1.75M deal
  • Nick Ramirez signed minor-league deal
  • Louis Coleman signed minor-league deal
  • Victor Reyes selected from D-Backs in Rule 5 Draft

The bad 👎:

  • Nick Castellanos traded to Cubs for Alex Lange, Paul Richan
  • Ian Kinsler traded to Angels for Wilkel Hernandez, Troy Montgomery
  • Mike Fiers traded to A's for Nolan Blackwood, Logan Shore
  • Tyson Ross signed one-year, $5.75M deal
  • Jordy Mercer signed one-year, $5.25M deal
  • Matt Moore signed one-year, $2.5M deal
  • Josh Harrison signed one-year, $2M deal

TBD 🤔:

  • Shane Greene traded to Braves for Travis Demeritte, Joey Wentz
  • C.J. Cron signed one-year, $6.1M deal
  • Jonathan Schoop signed one-year, $6.1M deal
  • Austin Romine signed one-year, $4.1M deal
  • Cameron Maybin signed one-year, $1.5M deal
  • Ivan Nova signed one-year, $1.5M deal
  • Willi Castro acquired from Indians for Leonys Martin, Kyle Dowdy

Grade: D

Kansas City Royals

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Executive: Dayton Moore
Title: Senior VP/general manager
Hired: June 8, 2006

Since winning the 2015 World Series, it's been downhill for the Royals, who are now rebuilding.

Among the best of Dayton Moore's recent transactions are the team-friendly Whit Merrifield extension and negotiating a bargain of a deal with Mike Moustakas in 2018 (though Kansas City eventually traded him to the Brewers for a return that hasn't worked out thus far).

Moore has missed on a lot of his signings - Billy Hamilton, Brad Boxberger, and Chris Owings come to mind - but none of those deals had significant financial implications for a franchise that looks like it's still years away from success.

The good 👍:

  • Whit Merrifield signed four-year, $16.25M extension
  • Mike Moustakas signed one-year, $6.5M deal
  • Jake Diekman signed one-year, $2.75M deal
  • Homer Bailey signed minor-league deal
  • Ryan McBroom purchased from Yankees
  • Mike Montgomery acquired from Cubs for Martin Maldonado
  • Scott Barlow signed one-year, $650K deal

The bad 👎:

  • Mike Moustakas traded to Brewers for Brett Phillips, Jorge Lopez
  • Kelvin Herrera traded to Nationals for Yohanse Morel, Blake Perkins, Kelvin Gutierrez
  • Billy Hamilton signed one-year, $5.25M deal
  • Joakim Soria, Scott Alexander, cash traded in three-team deal for Erick Mejia, Trevor Oaks
  • Jon Jay signed one-year, $3M deal
  • Homer Bailey traded to A's for Kevin Merrell
  • Jake Diekman traded to A's for Ismael Aquino, Dairon Blanco
  • Chris Owings signed one-year, $3M deal
  • Martin Maldonado signed one-year, $2.5M deal
  • Alcides Escobar re-signed one-year, $2.5M deal
  • Brad Boxberger signed one-year, $2.2M deal
  • Ryan Buchter, Brandon Moss traded to A's for Heath Fillmyer, Jesse Hahn

TBD 🤔:

  • Alex Gordon re-signed one-year, $4M deal
  • Maikel Franco signed one-year, $2.95M deal
  • Greg Holland signed minor-league deal
  • Trevor Rosenthal signed minor-league deal

Grade: D

Minnesota Twins

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Executive: Derek Falvey, Thad Levine
Title: Chief baseball officer, general manager
Hired: Oct. 3, 2016/Nov. 3, 2016

The first few years of Falvey and Levine's tenures were a roller coaster, but the product they put on the field in 2019 and the roster that's ready to suit up for Minnesota in 2020 give these two a place among the finest executives in the AL Central.

The Nelson Cruz agreement is among their greatest accomplishments, their surprising acquisition of Josh Donaldson this past offseason showed serious moxie, and hiring AL Manager of the Year Rocco Baldelli was brilliant.

The front-office duo also built a formidable pitching staff through free agency and trades, and the Twins didn't spend hundreds of millions of dollars to do it like some of their competitors have.

Yes, Falvey and Levine made mistakes along the way - trading Eduardo Escobar and Ryan Pressly worked out better for the other clubs in the deals - but there's no arguing that the Twins, who won 101 games and have the seventh-ranked farm system in MLB, are set up to succeed now and for years to come.

The good 👍:

  • Nelson Cruz signed one-year, $14.3M deal
  • Jake Odorizzi acquired from Rays for Jermaine Palacios
  • Michael Pineda signed two-year, $10M deal
  • C.J. Cron selected off waivers from Rays
  • Sergio Romo, Chris Vallimont, PTBNL acquired from Marlins for Lewin Diaz
  • Marwin Gonzalez signed two-year, $21M deal
  • Jonathan Schoop signed one-year, $7.5M deal
  • Fernando Rodney signed one-year, $4.5M deal
  • Zach Duke signed one-year, $2.15M deal
  • Jake Cave acquired from Yankees for Luis Gil
  • Matt Magill signed minor-league deal
  • Ryne Harper signed minor-league deal

The bad 👎:

  • Eduardo Escobar traded to D-Backs for Ernie De La Trinidad, Jhoan Duran, Gabriel Maciel
  • Brian Dozier traded to Dodgers for Logan Forsythe, Devin Smeltzer, Luke Raley
  • Ryan Pressly traded to Astros for Gilberto Celestino, Jorge Alcala
  • Sam Dyson acquired from Giants for Prelander Berroa, Kai-Wei Teng, Jaylin Davis
  • Addison Reed signed two-year, $16.75M deal
  • Lance Lynn signed one-year, $12M deal
  • Logan Morrison signed one-year, $6.75M deal
  • Martin Perez signed one-year, $3.5M deal
  • Blake Parker signed one-year, $1.8M deal
  • Nick Anderson traded to Marlins for Brian Schales

TBD 🤔:

  • Josh Donaldson signed four-year, $92M deal
  • Kenta Maeda, Jair Camargo, cash acquired from Dodgers for Brusdar Graterol, Luke Raley
  • Jake Odorizzi re-signed one-year, $17.8M deal
  • Michael Pineda re-signed two-year, $20M deal
  • Homer Bailey signed one-year, $7M deal
  • Sergio Romo re-signed one-year, $5M deal
  • Alex Avila signed one-year, $4.25M deal
  • Rich Hill signed one-year, $3M deal
  • Tyler Clippard signed one-year, $2.75M deal
  • Phil Hughes, cash, draft pick traded to Padres for Janigson Villalobos

Grade: A-

Grading MLB's front offices: AL Central
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