Opinion

Royals’ AL Central rivals stock up at Winter Meetings

Right-hander Jeff Samardzija is headed to the Chicago White Sox as a free agent, another key acquisition for a team that hopes to contend in the American League Central next season.
Right-hander Jeff Samardzija is headed to the Chicago White Sox as a free agent, another key acquisition for a team that hopes to contend in the American League Central next season.

While the Royals left baseball’s Winter Meetings in San Diego on Thursday with a new designated hitter, the flurry of activity by their division rivals was more striking.

▪ Minnesota Twins: Nearing a deal Thursday with free-agent starter Ervin Santana for four years and $55 million. The Royals were considered a suitor to bring back their former right-hander, who pitched in KC in 2013 (9-10, 3.24 ERA) and last season in Atlanta (14-10, 3.95).

▪ Chicago White Sox: After signing first baseman Adam LaRoche (26 homers for Washington in 2014) for two years and $25 million, the Sox gave $46 million for former Yankees closer David Robertson (39 saves), and built a package to acquire starter Jeff Samardzija (2.99 ERA in 2014) from Oakland.

▪ Detroit Tigers: Flipped starter Rick Porcello for Boston outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who hit 22 homers and drove in 100 runs for the Red Sox and A’s in 2014.

▪ Cleveland Indians: Acquired All-Star first baseman Brandon Moss (25 homers in 2014) in another trade involving the A’s.

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