The Cubs are beginning to threaten shedding the longest World Series drought tag, and the Indians are next up on the list
107 years. The Cleveland Indians have a ways to go before they reach that status owned by the Chicago Cubs. With the New York Mets sweep of the Cubs, the Indians will remain just the second-longest World Series drought at a mere 67 years. There was some concern in Cleveland for a little bit, especially after the Cubs dispatched of the top two teams in baseball in the first two rounds. But in the end, 1908 will still be the number that many point to. But how much longer are the Indians safe from becoming the longest drought in baseball?
The young Cubs aren’t the first team to seem poised to have a long, successful run–the Washington Nationals come to mind. But unlike the Nats who were banking on Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, the Cubs played five rookies often–and they may not have even scratched the surface yet. If the Cubs do progress as many think it may not be long before the Indians move to the top of the list.
Each team finished third in their division, but the Cubs tallied 97 wins while the Indians won just 81. Thanks to a make-up game that didn’t need to be made up, they finished a game over .500. Both may stake claim to their respective league’s Rookie of the Year–Kris Bryant for the Cubs and Francisco Lindor for the Tribe. And both appear to have solid top of the rotation arms–both have questions at the bottom (the Cubs more so than the Indians).
Even with that, several things are working against the Indians–Talent level and depth of the farm system–but maybe not so much the depth. The Cubs still rank in most analysts top five, even with all the call-ups this season. The Indians do indeed have some depth, but they lack the top 100 punch that other teams have, including the Cubs.
It’s a tight pocketbook in Cleveland. The Indians won’t be dropping $155 million on a free agent pitcher this winter like the Cubs did on Jon Lester last winter because the purse string are tight. The Cubs purged many of their bad contracts from the previous regime while signing much of their young talent to team-friendly deals. The Indians spent this trade deadline trying to do the same while getting at least something for those bad deals. If those trades benefit the Tribe are yet to be seen, but Abraham Almonte and Chris Johnson could be part of the immediate future at least.
It’s very clear that the Cubs are trending upward, even with being swept by the Mets in the NLCS. The Indians, on the other hand, are fluttering somewhat. Picked by many to be a World Series contender–the strong finish worked them into a respectable season–but still disappointing with what was thought to be a very solid group.
This July saw the team torn apart and moved in the direction of youth, with Lindor and Giovanny Urshela leading the way. It was a change in philosophy, and now with a change in the front office it’s up to the Indians to take care of business and move themselves down the list before the Cubs do.