There aren’t any serious MVP candidates in the Central division, but there are some solid cases for Least Valuable. Here’s each team’s award winner (loser?):
Tigers: They signed Jordan Zimmermann and developed terrific rookie Michael Fulmer, so Detroit’s rotation is in great shape, right? Well, it might have been, but Anibal Sanchez’s decline has become a huge issue. He lost his starting job by midseason and entered the All-Star break without a quality start. His ERA has risen each of the past three seasons and now stands at 5.69.
White Sox: One season after bringing in awful Jeff Samardzija to be Chris Sale’s sidekick, Chicago tried it again with James Shields, and the results have been even worse. “Big Game” James has posted a 7.50 ERA in 13 starts with the Sox, leading them out of playoff contention. Hey, at least he’s only owed $44 million for the next two years.
Royals: Chris Young gave the Twins 123 innings of 3.06 pitching in 2015, critical for a rotation without a dominant starter. But the 37-year-old righthander has acted his age this year: His ERA has doubled to 6.04, and by midseason, with the Royals fading out of the postseason picture, Kansas City couldn’t afford to give him any more starts.
Indians: Juan Uribe was a free-agent flop at third base, and catcher Yan Gomes batted .165 before going down with a shoulder injury. But Marlon Byrd, signed to shore up outfield depth, was just heating up when he failed a drug test, triggering an 80-game suspension and likely ending his career.