The future is bright for the Cleveland Indians / Cleveland Guardians despite the struggles of the 2021 season.
The 2021 season has been rough for Cleveland baseball. What will end up being the final season for the Cleveland Indians was expected to be a bit tougher than previous seasons due to the makeup of the roster after the club cut payroll. However, even then a season below .500 this far into the season was fully predicted.
As it currently stands, the Tribe are in danger of suffering a losing season for the first time since 2012. On top of that, the front office has traded away most of the top players for the organization and Terry Francona has stepped away for the rest of the season, putting his position in question, potentially, next year as well.
While the negatives are taking the headlines right now, like a 17-0 loss, there’s still a lot to be excited for when looking ahead to the future of Cleveland baseball. This team is young and developing, which should in turn create a bright future as the group grows together and finds their stride in the coming seasons.
So, to help us get through the remainder of a difficult 2021 season we’ll need to focus on those positives. In fact, these three positives should be just enough to paint a bright future for Cleveland baseball moving beyond the 2021 campaign.
Lots of Team Control Remains for the Cleveland Indians
Perhaps the best takeaway from this season for the Tribe is the amount of team control the club has with the current roster. On the team’s roster currently there are 11 players that will be under team control through the 2025 season, including nearly all the outfielders, most of the starting rotation and the backend of the bullpen. If you back it up a year, you also add Shane Bieber and Franmil Reyes through 2024.
That means that the core of this club should remain for at least the next three seasons, barring any trades. Unlike the situation with Francisco Lindor, most of these contracts should remain rather affordable through the arbitration process.
If the team can stick with this group of players they would retain the following players through the 2024 season: Shane Bieber, Franmil Reyes, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac, Cal Quantrill, James Karinchak, Emmanuel Clase, Harold Ramirez, Myles Straw, Josh Naylor, Bobby Bradley and more.
That means that the club should be able to proceed with at least a full outfield, four starting pitchers, two bullpen arms and a first baseman on bargain deals, and that doesn’t even include any prospects who could get called up.