Consider the following about the American League Central:
- Its division champion, the Detroit Tigers, won just 88 games.
- It was the only five-team division with three teams with losing records.
- The second-place Chicago White Sox won 85 games despite its lowest attendance since 2004.
- The Minnesota Twins won 66 games -- actually an improvement on 63 in 2011.
- The Cleveland Indians have not had a winning record in five years.
- The Kansas City Royals last won the division in 1985.
The AL Central was the weakest division in baseball last season, and it has been for some time. The Royals haven’t had sustained success since the days of Dick Howser, George Brett and Bret Saberhagen. The Indians fired manager Manny Acta and long for the days of Mike Hargrove, Kenny Lofton and Carlos Baerga, while the Twins can’t seem to shake the injury bug.
When the best days of three of its teams are in the rearview mirror, there’s a problem.
Though it might be the weakest division in baseball, it's had arguably the strongest offseason. Each team has made significant progress toward heading back to respectability and, in the Tigers' case, perhaps back to the World Series.
Here is a quick look at how the AL Central teams have already improved this offseason: