After an epic seven-game series in last season's World Series, the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians both entered 2017 looking for a return engagement. Both rosters remained stacked with young talent and augmented those players with established off-season additions like Edwin Encarnacion and Wade Davis.
Yet, as we sit here staring Memorial Day in the face, the defending league champions are a combined 39-37, with the two games above .500 belonging to the Indians. Luckily, there is little reason to panic, as both sit within three games of first place, but there is a general uneasiness. There is also a general malaise affecting both clubhouses, making it hard for either Joe Maddon or Terry Francona to find nine healthy players on any given night.
One of the reasons these clubs were considered favorites in 2017, outside of their 2016 performances, was the depth of each organization -- something we are seeing right now. The Indians have three outfielders on the disabled list. The Cubs have been alternating ailing regulars for the past few weeks. Instead of searching for help outside the organization, both teams simply went down to the farm and plucked top prospects as Band-Aids to stop the bleeding.