AL Central season preview

Joe Mauer and the Twins will look to win their division for the third year in a row. Brace Hemmelgarn/US Presswire

It's amazing what a new stadium mixed with a little success can do. The Twins christened Target Field in 2010 by winning their second straight AL Central title (sixth in nine years). Thanks to revenue generated by the new park and those division crowns, Minnesota now boasts a payroll that tops $100 million. In other words, these aren't the lovable small-market underdogs from the turn of this century. The White Sox and Tigers, in hopes of unseating the Twinkies atop the division, opened up their checkbooks this off-season. Chicago signed DH Adam Dunn (four years, $56 million) and re-signed first baseman Paul Konerko (three years, $37.5 million), while Detroit inked catcher/DH Victor Martinez (four years,
$50 million) and reliever Joaquin Benoit (three years, $16.5 million). Who says only AL East teams dole out the cash?