Manager: Jim Leyland (eighth season).
2012: 88-74, first place, lost World Series.
Training Town: Lakeland, Fla.
He’s Here: OF Torii Hunter, 2B Jeff Kobernus, LHP Kyle Lobstein, C Brayan Pena.
He’s Outta Here: C Gerald Laird, OF Ryan Raburn, LHP Daniel Schlereth, RHP Jose Valverde, DH Delmon Young.
Going campin’: The defending AL champions kept all their top players. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, ace Justin Verlander and slugger Prince Fielder are back to help Detroit try for a third straight AL Central title. The Tigers even spent big money to keep RHP Anibal Sanchez in the rotation instead of losing him to free agency. The Tigers also added Hunter to play right field, and they hope designated hitter Victor Martinez can be productive after missing the whole 2012 season with a knee injury. Detroit has six starting pitchers, so if there’s no trade, RHP Rick Porcello and LHP Drew Smyly will vie for the last rotation spot.
Chicago White Sox
Manager: Robin Ventura (second season).
2012: 85-77, second place.
Training Town: Glendale, Ariz.
He’s Here: 3B Jeff Keppinger, RHP Matt Lindstrom, 1B Lars Anderson, RHP Zach Stewart.
He’s Outta Here: C A.J. Pierzynski, 3B Kevin Youkilis, RHP Brett Myers, SS Jose Lopez.
Going campin’: The White Sox spent 117 days in first place last season, only to finish three games behind Detroit in the AL Central after a late fade. Now, they believe they are poised to challenge for the division crown. The roster is largely intact, with one notable exception. Pierzynski, one of the final links to the 2005 championship team, is gone. The White Sox believe Tyler Flowers is ready to take over behind the plate. With Jake Peavy and Chris Sale leading a deep rotation and what looks like a solid bullpen behind them, the White Sox believe they have one of the American League’s best staffs. After finishing fourth in the AL in runs and third in homers last season, the White Sox could also have an imposing lineup led by Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios if Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham mature at the plate.
Kansas City Royals
Manager: Ned Yost (third season).
2012: 72-90, third place.
Training Town: Surprise, Ariz.
He’s Here: RHP Ervin Santana, RHP James Shields, RHP Wade Davis, OF Xavier Nady, LHP George Sherrill, OF Endy Chavez.
He’s Outta Here: INF Yuniesky Betancourt, LHP Jonathan Sanchez, RHP Jonathan Broxton.
Going campin’: The Royals could have an entirely new starting rotation from the start of last season. They re-signed Jeremy Guthrie, who went 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA after a midseason trade with Colorado, to a three-year, $25 million deal. They then made a trade with the Los Angeles Angels for Ervin Santana, who is owed $13 million this season. But the biggest move of the offseason was when the Royals dealt top prospect Wil Myers and promising pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery to the Tampa Bay Rays for Shields, a former All-Star, and Davis.
Manager: Terry Francona (first season).
2012: 68-94, fourth place.
Training Town: Goodyear, Ariz.
He’s Here: OF Nick Swisher, RHP Brett Myers, 1B-DH Mark Reynolds, OF Drew Stubbs, INF Mike Aviles, RHP Trevor Bauer, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Matt Albers, RHP Matt Capps, OF Ben Francisco,
He’s Outta Here: Manager Manny Acta, OF Shin-Soo Choo, DH Travis Hafner, INF Jason Donald, RHP Roberto Hernandez, 3B Jack Hannahan, LHP Tony Sipp, OF Shelley Duncan, 1B Casey Kotchman, OF Grady Sizemore, LHP Rafael Perez, RHP Jeanmar Gomez.
Going campin’: Francona returns rejuvenated after a one-year stint as a broadcaster after eight seasons in Boston, where he helped the Red Sox end The Curse and win two World Series. The 53-year-old said Cleveland was the only job he would have taken, and his hiring has provided a huge boost for the Indians and their fans, still reeling from the team’s stunning collapse – the Indians went 5-24 in August – last season. Without Francona, Cleveland would have never landed a quality free agent like Swisher, a 20-homer, 90-RBI guy who signed a four-year, $56 million contract after the Indians tugged on his Ohio State ties to bring him “home.”
Manager: Ron Gardenhire (12th season).
2012: 66-96, fifth place.
Training Town: Fort Myers, Fla.
He’s Here: RHP Mike Pelfrey, RHP Vance Worley, RHP Kevin Correia.
He’s Outta Here: OF Denard Span, OF Ben Revere, RHP Scott Baker, LHP Francisco Liriano, RHP Carl Pavano, INF Alexi Casilla, RHP Matt Capps.
Going campin’: The Twins are used to defying the big-market teams and contending in the AL, but they have finished in last place in the Central division in each of the last two years. Injuries plagued them in 2011 and dreadful starting pitching was the culprit in 2012. With that in mind, the Twins have overhauled their rotation. LHP Scott Diamond is the only holdover from last season who is assured a spot in the rotation. Pelfrey is coming off elbow-reconstruction surgery after being a solid but sometimes frustrating pitcher for the Mets, Worley was underwhelming with the Phillies last year and Correia was demoted to the bullpen in Pittsburgh, leaving many to wonder whether those moves will turn out to be upgrades. Offense shouldn’t be a problem, with Joe Mauer bouncing back to regain his All-Star form, Justin Morneau healthier than he has been in years and Josh Willingham coming off a career season.