Cleveland: The Indians had no problem coasting to the Central title, but their preparation for the postseason hit a wall with three quick losses to Houston. Cleveland has a manageable payroll, and their outstanding nucleus will be back next season when they’ll be overwhelming favorites for another division title. But how long will the Indians’ window be open? Was the World Series Game 7 loss to the Cubs in 2016 the furthest this group goes?
Detroit: Avoiding 100 losses in a massive rebuilding year has been credited to manager Ron Gardenhire. The Detroit Free Press gave him a “A,” saying: “Gardenhire made an immediate impact on this young team, gaining their trust early. He was not afraid to speak his mind or give positive reinforcement in a season of many losses. Talent-wise, this was a bad team that was hit with big injuries. But until Game 162, the Tigers played hard.”
Kansas City: September was the Royals’ only winning month, but they are painting their 20-14 finish (since late August) to the season as a positive. Manager Ned Yost will be back on a one-year deal and his biggest test will be getting quickly promoted prospects such as Adalberto Mondesi, Ryan O’Hearn, Hunter Dozier to take the next step.
Chicago: The White Sox lost 100 games for the first time since 1970 but, as the Chicago Tribune pointed out, there was remarkable consistency on their rebuilding roster. Eight of the nine hitters in the Opening Day lineup were the primary players at their positions (catcher Welington Castillo had an 80-game PED suspension), and three pitchers (James Shields, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito) made 32-plus starts.