When looking back at recent years, it’s easy to take for granted how good the Cleveland Indians have been. But can they sustain that success for the future?
In life and in baseball, all good things must come to an end. With how fast change happens in the MLB, multiple years of success can be hard to come by. The Cleveland Indians know all about this. In the late 90’s they sustained nearly half a decade of success. Then came a long drought of missing the playoffs minus a few upstarts in 2007 and 2013.
Success has come back their way three seasons in a row now, part of that is thanks to the poor American League Central competition. But their incredible play of this Indians team shouldn’t be discounted by that.
The Indians have a year or two left before the rest of the division really catches up to them it seems. So the question is, at that point will the Indians begin to decline. Some will likely argue that the decline has already happened. With players like Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen set to hit free agency, this team may not be as good as previous years.
They will have some decisions to make with the aforementioned players along with Melky Cabera and Lonnie Chisenhall. Loosing your entire outfield certainly isn’t a recipe for success, just ask the Marlins.
But after this offseason, the Indians won’t have much to worry about until 2021. The entirety of the rotation is under contract up until then. At that point, this team could look very different, but we’re years away from then.
In the coming years, the Indians will have a chance to keep a lot of their core assets. If they want to take advantage of having great players and a weak division, they will still have to make some moves. This years’ free agent class figures to be huge, and the Indians should partake in it if they won’t keep any free agents around.
The impending free agency could potentially change the landscape of the MLB, which will require the Indians to stay competitive if they want to attract those names. It’s not saying things may be as drastic as the 46-year playoff drought (the wild-card game has helped make sure that doesn’t happen as often) but if the Indians don’t take advantage of the changing tides, once their big-name players leave we could see another extended period without a playoff appearance.
But have a little faith (I know this team makes it hard) but the Indians have proven they can stay competitive since manager Terry Francona joined the fold. Let’s hold on to this team and their ability to stay afloat, because a time may come when that is no longer the case.