Despite all of their off-season moves that have fan morale trending upward, a troika of ESPN reporters have given the Cleveland Indians a 29.7 out of 100 in their recent release of “future” power rankings. This score — though an improvement off of their league-worst total in 2012 — represents the third-lowest total in all of baseball.
These rankings, set to list which MLB teams are set up for sustainable success, use a combination of current major league roster coupled with finances, management and mobility. The categorical scores are depicted above.
By signing Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher this winter, the Indians made themselves more interesting for 2013, but the long-term future of the club is still in doubt. They don’t have a reliable starter, and their short-term path to winning involves Trevor Bauer, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson all pitching like the elite starters their stuff suggests they can be. That’s far from a certainty. — Buster Olney
They need at least two of Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Zach McAllister to become rotation stalwarts for them to move forward because they are not in position to sign any top-quality free-agent starters after their spending sprees on Swisher, Bourn and Mark Reynolds. — Jim Bowden
The Indians have shortstops galore — three or four of whom might end up as big league regulars in an optimistic scenario — and a lot of young pitching that’s three or four years away, but short-term help is really limited and they’re very light on corner bats who’ll have big offensive impact. – Keith Law
Only the Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies rank below Cleveland. It’s 1993 all over again.
[Related: The Diff: Market saturation and Indians attendance]