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The state of the Cleveland Indians, their window for contention, and their tricky approach to the offseason – The Athletic

CLEVELAND — A few days before the full squad reported to Arizona for spring training in 2013, the Indians snagged a straggler on the free-agent market.

They inked Michael Bourn to a four-year deal, a late signing that fortified the club’s outfield, vaulting the position group toward the top of the team’s list of strengths. An outfield with Bourn, Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs was supposed to resemble a graveyard for fly balls.

Well, it didn’t pan out as anticipated. Bourn never recaptured his All-Star form. Stubbs spent one strikeout-filled season in Cleveland. And while the Indians qualified for the wild card game in Terry Francona’s first year at the helm, it certainly wasn’t the direct result of a dynamic outfield trio.

Ah, but it could always be worse.

The Indians are still waiting for that dream outfield to appear, nearly six years later. Only now — as the ghosts of Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd, Brandon Moss, Ryan Raburn, Jerry…

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