MLB Power Rankings: Three AL teams in hunt to end long playoff droughts

by | Baseball Writer

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Generally speaking, I start to eye a topic for Power Rankings almost immediately after the previous week's rankings are posted. Sometimes I have to change course as the week plays itself out and sometimes I really do end up sitting there late Tuesday night coming up with something last minute.

What I had been eyeing for this week was what I found to be an incredible dynamic in the second AL wild-card race.

That is, the four main teams -- yes, clubs like the Indians and Rays still have a shot, of course -- were the three franchises with the longest MLB playoff droughts with the team that has been to the playoffs the most since the '94 strike. It was three underdogs and a villain.

The Royals haven't been to the playoffs since 1985. The Blue Jays' drought goes back to 1993 and the Mariners haven't been to postseason play since 2001. Alongside them was the so-called "Evil Empire," the New York Yankees.

In the past week, though, things have changed a bit. It actually seems possible that two of the underdogs make it in, as the Royals have a real shot at the Central. The Tigers are a mess right now, namely with the bullpen and Justin Verlander's injury/struggles -- not to mention Anibal Sanchez's injury and some offensive inconsistencies.

With the latter, teamed with a Mariners hot streak, Seattle and Kansas City could both make the postseason. And there's plenty of shaking up to do in the meantime anyway.

Back to the Royals, though. Their playoff drought is a decent bit longer than the Pirates' streak without a winning season that ended in 2013. If the Royals continue to play so well, they probably need to start getting as much national run as the Pirates did last season. I understand there have been some winning records in KC, but, in reality, is having an 83-79 record and missing the playoffs really so much different than going 79-83 and missing the playoffs? Both teams are home in October and were similarly mediocre by the end of the season.

That's where the Royals have been since 1985. It has been a while for the Blue Jays and Mariners, too.

And now it seems at least remotely possible that two of those three droughts could end in 2014. Stay tuned.

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Robinson Cano's move to Seattle is paying off as the Mariners chase a playoff berth. (USATSI)
Robinson Cano's move to Seattle is paying off as the Mariners chase a playoff berth. (USATSI)


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