Though Kansas City has run away with the division title, September still promises to be an important month for AL Central teams. A look at a big decision each faces as the season winds down:
• • •
Lonnie Chisenhall, Carlos Santana and Mike Aviles weren’t the answer at third base, but Cleveland hopes it has found a long-term solution in Giovanny Urshela, easily the best fielder the team has had there in years. But the 23-year-old Colombian needs to prove he will hit enough to hold the position; a .609 OPS in his first two months is worrisome.
• • •
Alex Gordon is about to return from the groin strain that kept him out two months, and getting him ready for the playoffs is priority No. 1 for Kansas City. But so is solving the lineup quandary his return triggers: Where does newly acquired Ben Zobrist play? He will likely end up at second base, but right field is possible, too.
• • •
With new General Manager Al Avila in charge, virtually every Tigers player is playing for his job, so September will be critical. It’s also a big opportunity for Bruce Rondon to convince Avila that he can finally be the solution to Detroit’s nagging bullpen problem. He is 2-for-3 in saves since Joaquin Soria was traded, but he has given up runs in three of his past four outings.
• • •
When he was batting .212 on July 1, the notion that Alexei Ramirez would return as White Sox shortstop in 2016 seemed silly. But there are signs that they are considering picking up his $10 million option, as from that low point to Friday he hit .278 with six homers and seven stolen bases. September might determine what they do.