Gerrit Cole Returns To Carry Astros Past Tigers

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Chicago White Sox: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

The Chicago White Sox's rebuild took a step back when top pitching prospect Michael Kopech underwent Tommy John surgery. 

The South Siders need to fill out their rotation. They could be tempted to sign a flawed-but-enticing pitcher to a longish contract, but that's the wrong play for Chicago.

Consider Hyun-Jin Ryu. Yes, he posted a 1.97 ERA in 15 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers and tossed seven shutout innings in his division series start against the Atlanta Braves. But he'll also turn 32 in March and has wrestled with various injuries.

As tempting as it may be for the White Sox to roll the dice and attempt to accelerate their rebuild, patience and restraint are the operative words.


Cleveland Indians: 3B Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson was the AL MVP in 2015. He's a three-time All-Star who was perhaps the best third baseman on the planet at the height of his powers.

After Donaldson limped through a dreary 2018 season with a lingering calf injury, the Cleveland Indians snagged him from the Blue Jays at the waiver deadline for a player to be named later. 

In 60 regular-season plate appearances with the Tribe, Donaldson hit .280 with a .920 OPS and appeared rejuvenated. 

He went 1-for-11 as the Red Sox swept Cleveland in the division series. Still, the Indians might be enamored with the notion of bringing him back via free agency.

The wet blanket: Donaldson turns 33 in December. Given his recent injury history and the distinct possibility of age-related decline, the budget-conscious Indians should steer clear.


Detroit Tigers: RHP Lance Lynn

Much like the White Sox, the Detroit Tigers are in full-on rebuild mode. Also like the White Sox, they have a ho-hum starting rotation that posted a 4.65 ERA and is riddled with question marks.

The Tigers could go shopping for a reclamation project to eat innings. Lance Lynn, an All-Star back in 2012, appears to fit that bill.

Lynn vacillated between mediocre and bad in 2018 en route to a 4.77 ERA. His more-respectable 3.84 FIP suggests a bounce-back is possible. 

But he doesn't make sense for a team that's years away from contention.


Kansas City Royals: 3B Mike Moustakas

The Kansas City Royals re-signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year deal last winter, but they traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers when it became clear their season was a lost cause. 

Might the Royals consider bringing Moose back this winter?

That seems irrational for a club that finished last in the AL Central and obviously needs to rebuild. But the Royals are keeping manager Ned Yost around despite their 2018 nosedive. As long as they're being nostalgic, why not go for a Moustakas reunion?

For one, they need young players on the rise, not veterans who may have passed their apex. Secondly, Moustakas is a one-dimensional slugger with poor on-base abilities who won't be the difference-maker for anybody in 2019.


Minnesota Twins: 1B Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer has put together a borderline Hall of Fame career with the Minnesota Twins. He's made six All-Star teams and won the AL MVP in 2009.

This season, he posted a .729 OPS with only six home runs in 127 games. 

He's mulling retirement but has yet to make a decision. If he decides to come back, should the Twins make the sentimental move and sign him?


After a surprise postseason appearance in 2017, Minnesota backslid this season and finished below .500. As painful as it is to say goodbye to a beloved former star, it's time for Mauer and the Twinkies to part ways.

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