Tribe pitching depth already a curse
Before you say it, I'll say it for you: "Almost every team in the Major Leagues would love to have the Indians' pitching staff."
I can't argue with that. For the better part of the last decade, the Indians have sported one of the most consistent – and consistently deep – pitching staffs in the American League, if not all of baseball. They have been contenders year in and year out, and not had a losing season during Terry Francona's tenure as manager. And yep, there are a plethora of baseball franchises who would love to be where the Indians are right now. The winning culture. Annual contenders. Strong (obviously) farm system. A steady and effective front office with an excellent scouting staff – especially when it comes to drafting and/or trading for pitching talent.
So then what, pray tell, is the problem here? Am I just getting ornery in my advancing age? Can't I just sit back and appreciate what we have, while we have it?
Well, we can discount the "ornery to advancing age" theory because truth be told, I've been fairly ornery most of my life. In fact, I kind of like it. What I don't like, however, is where the Tribe is headed, mostly because of the "Dolan philosophy" as it applies to baseball.
Here's the thing: Most baseball franchises, coming off the season the Indians had (considered by most to be successful in spite of departing the playoffs in the blink of an eye) would want to grab this opportunity – spend some cash – and gear up for a real shot at a world championship. And given the cyclical nature of sports (unless you're, ahem, the Browns) teams usually follow a period of success with a period of "rebuilding."
Indians owner Paul Dolan isn't buying into that approach anymore. As far as he's concerned, we took our shot in 2016, and the couple of years that followed, when we spent big bucks on Andrew Miller, Edwin Encarnacion, and others, and, well, it didn't pan out as hoped. The Indians were very competitive, but never went back to the World Series, and the Dolans claimed (stop me if you've heard this) to have lost gobs of money as a result. That will teach us fans to want a world championship!
Yes, dear reader, because of our collective thirst for world domination (in a baseball sense) we are now entering year three of the "reduce the payroll so we can make more money" approach that is borne – unfortunately – largely in part from our success at amassing awesome pitching staffs. Even Chris Antonetti, who I always regarded as the bastion of clear thinking when it came to the Indians' approach to building and maintaining a successful baseball franchise, has said that because of our pitching depth, "We will be contenders for the next half-decade or so." And that's all the Dolans needed to hear to continue to jettison payroll.
So, fret not, Indians fans, we will be "contenders" for another five years. But because we let Carlos Santana go, and will lose Frankie Lindor sooner rather than later, we are going to have an offense that will be hard-pressed to score 3 runs a game. And with the current cheapskate philosophy, it's hard to envision any quick-fixes.
It's also hard to envision any return trips to the World Series.
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!