Ownership's investment in 2011 is wasted as the lack of an experienced closer spells disaster. The aging roster shows its warts, and kids like Gordon Beckham and Chris Sale fail to develop.
Comeback seasons from Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner and breakouts by Justin Masterson and Carlos Carrasco in the rotation set up the Tribe as a contender for 2012.
Injuries continue to mount and the young rotation struggles, and an early-season dive forces a trade-deadline exodus of top veterans. Cleveland gets further from the postseason, not closer.
They flirt with .500 as Billy Butler and Alex Gordon make big leaps and the prospects that begin to arrive make a splash. For once, K.C. fans look forward to next year.
With the thin rotation faltering and veteran free-agent signings turning into busts, the team's struggles result in the front office rushing prospects to the majors prematurely.