2021 MLB Season
(Winslow Townson/AP Photo)

2021 MLB Season: Top 5 Most Directionless Franchises

In Major League Baseball, there are some teams that are clearly establishing themselves to be contenders for the next few years. There are others who are rebuilding, but at least they are making clear strides in that direction. Then there are the franchises stuck in stasis, not going anywhere fast. No plan, no real sense of urgency, just commitment to perpetual mediocrity or worse. Welcome to Baseball Purgatory. Here are the Top 5 most directionless franchises this 2021 MLB season.

5. Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs prove that a team can be relatively competitive and still directionless. They currently sit at 24-22, good for second place in the NL Central. However, this team isn’t competitive enough and has too bleak of a future to avoid this list. The Cubs are running on the fumes of the 2016 World Series winning roster. It’s clear that their roster will not be in serious contention for a World Series title in the 2021 MLB season, at least not as currently constructed. After this year, the free agents start to pile up. Javy Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Craig Kimbrel will all become free agents. Willson Contreras will enter his first year of arbitration. This team is headed nowhere very fast, and everything could fall apart as soon as next offseason.

4. Texas Rangers

What exactly is the plan for the Texas Rangers? They have an average pitching staff and a pretty uninspiring roster. Joey Gallo, their most recognizable name, is hitting .209 and striking out at a high rate. Adolis Garcia, a rookie outfielder, is easily their best player and leads the Rangers in batting average, home runs, and RBIs. Overall, the roster is pretty bad, and Texas doesn’t have a great farm system to bank on the future or trade for more established assets. They sit a game out of last place in the AL West, and their future is looking bleak. The plan for how to right the ship couldn’t be less obvious.

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3. Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout is the greatest player of our generation, and he might be considered the greatest player of all time when his time is said and done. He’s spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Angels and has played in just three playoff games. Unlike some other teams on this list, it seems like the Angels’ management genuinely wants to be competitive. I don’t think they realized at the time how much the massive Albert Pujols contract would inhibit their ability to make that happen. I can’t remember the last time the Angels had a good pitching staff. This 2021 MLB season, they rank last in ERA, surrendering 5.25 earned runs per game as a staff. That’s been a longtime issue that the Angels haven’t made any real effort to fix. The Angels present an odd case of a team that wants to be competitive but has consistently made a number of blunders that prevent them from becoming anything more than an average-to-below-average team. They currently sit last in the AL West.

2. Colorado Rockies

I’ve said it once and I’ll keep saying it until it stops being true. The Colorado Rockies are utterly directionless. At one point, this team had Nolan Arenado, DJ Lemahieu, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon on the same roster, and they accomplished absolutely nothing with any of them. Arenado and Lemahieu already skipped town, and Trevor Story might be the next one gone. There’s nothing more indicative of a complete lack of direction than how the Rockies have mismanaged the talent on their roster and produced absolutely zero success. Once Colorado has been bled dry of all the great players that have fallen in their laps, things will only get worse.

1. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates deserve to be on this list more than any other team. Gerrit Cole? Gone. Tyler Glasnow? Gone. Andrew McCutchen? Gone. The list of really good players who have been shipped out of Pittsburgh is a lengthy one. The primary issue in Pittsburgh is the ownership’s refusal to spend any money in free agency. The Pirates have a beautiful stadium, a passionate fanbase, and ownership that has zero desire to be competitive. Pittsburgh is the worst team in arguably the worst division in baseball. There’s no end in sight because they don’t spend any money to improve the roster and they trade away any good players they bring up through the system.

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