MLB Offseason Moves Each AL Central Contender Needs to Make for 2020 Season

Mike Esposito
Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Angels
Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Angels / John McCoy/Getty Images

Minnesota's penchant for the long ball, with their MLB-record 307 regular-season home runs, helped the Twins to their first AL Central title since 2010. The team that finished in second in 2019, the Cleveland Indians, had won the previous three division crowns.

While the winner of the AL Central has been knocked out in three straight American League Division Series, the previous two division winners – the Indians in 2016 and the Kansas City Royals in 2015 – qualified for the World Series. While Cleveland lost to the Chicago Cubs in seven games, the Royals won it all.

While we haven't seen an AL Central team named World Series champ since 2015, here's a key move that a few contenders in the division should make this offseason to get back to the Fall Classic.

1. Minnesota Twins: Sign Gerrit Cole

Expected to be the crown jewel of the 2020 free agent market, Gerrit Cole was arguably the best pitcher in baseball this season, going 20-5 with a AL-best 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and an MLB-best 326 strikeouts (212 1/3 innings). The Twins may be in the market for up to three starting pitchers, if Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda and Martin Perez (club option) leave via free agency. Signing Cole would fill a big need, and adding him to staff that already features Jose Berrios would give Minnesota a dominant one-two punch at the top of its rotation for the next few seasons. The Twins aren't big spenders historically, but if you're going to ever get the checkbook out for someone, Cole seems like he would fit the bill.

2. Cleveland Indians: Sign Anthony Rendon

Despite an impressive second-half surge, the Cleveland Indians missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2015. The Indians still have enough talent for a return trip to the postseason, but there's one free agent available that could all but assure that they get back into October in 2020 – Anthony Rendon. An NL MVP candidate, Rendon had an incredible season for the Washington Nationals, slashing .319/.412/.598 with 34 homers, an NL-best 44 doubles and a league-leading 126 RBI. Adding Rendon to an already potent lineup could give Cleveland enough firepower to compete with the Twins next year. Additionally, the 30-year-old slugger would be a solid solution to replace free-agent-to-be Jason Kipnis, as to team's current third baseman, Jose Ramirez, can slide over to second base to make room for Rendon.

3. Chicago White Sox: Re-Sign Jose Abreu

Ron Vesely/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox finished 2019 with their seventh consecutive losing season. However, the future looks bright on the South Side of Chicago, thanks to the club's promising young core. If Chicago wants to take the next step toward contention, resigning one of its own free agents should be a top priority. Jose Abreu was one of baseball's best hitters in 2019, slashing .284/.330/.503 with 33 homers and an AL-best 123 RBI in 159 games played. The 33-year-old first baseman is an excellent heart-of the-order bat and has been the leader in the White Sox clubhouse since he arrived in Chicago. If the ChiSox can re-sign Abreu, they'll maintain an important piece of their organization as the young team around him continues to improve.

Join FanDuel Sportsbook Today. New users get a risk-free bet up to $500. Join Now.

Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.