Let it ride or tear it down? Kluber injury puts Indians at crossroads

Corey Kluber's extended absence after a winter of inactivity by the organization has exposed a talent issue in Cleveland, and how the Tribe addresses it will shape a division's future. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians probably merited more scrutiny than they received for an uneventful Hot Stove season. That's not to say they should have been ripped mercilessly, but when things don't add up on the surface, it's always worth digging deeper.

Here's what we know: The Indians have not won a World Series since 1948, a 71-year title drought that is the longest in the majors. They are working on a string of three straight division titles and six straight winning seasons. And while they came tantalizingly close in 2016, none of those campaigns has ended with a drought-snapping championship.

Here's more of what we know: The American League has devolved into a hellscape of haves and have-nots, an inequality of competitiveness so stark that you almost expect Bernie Sanders to campaign on the issue. The Indians have been one of the having-est of the haves by winning 284 games over the past three seasons, the third-highest total in the AL. But with the loaded Astros, Yankees and Red Sox all vying for the same pennant flag, the competition on the league's top tier has never been more fierce.

And finally: The Indians' bWAR leaders since the over-.500 streak started in 2013 are Corey Kluber (33.6), Francisco Lindor (24.0), Jose Ramirez (22.1), Carlos Carrasco (19.5), Michael Brantley (18.6), Jason Kipnis (16.6), Trevor Bauer (16.3) and Carlos Santana (15.5). All of those players except for Brantley are on this year's roster. Brantley, while the Indians were so quiet, signed with the Astros.