MLB's most volatile rotation

The Indians could have an elite pitching staff -- or a terrible one

Updated: March 11, 2014, 10:52 AM ET
By Mike Petriello | ESPN Insider

Danny SalazarTom Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)Danny Salazar put up Cy Young-worthy stats in his brief big league stint last season.

Imagine this: You're a 2013 playoff team coming off a huge turnaround from a poor 2012 season. You accomplished this largely due to a pitching staff that allowed 183 fewer runs to score than the year before. When the offseason comes, 40 percent of the rotation departs via free agency. To replace them and support a good offense that hopes to contend in 2014, you do ... nothing. 

If that sounds crazy, well, maybe it is. But that's the path the Cleveland Indians have chosen to take this year. Instead, they are going to entrust their playoff hopes to a starting rotation made up entirely of internal options in their 20s, several of whom many fans would have difficulty naming were they spotted half the letters in their names.

Maybe that works out, and maybe it doesn't. Either way, Cleveland is counting on its own young talent, which is generally preferable to gambling on the low-upside Jason Vargases and Edinson Volquezes of the world. The end result is a rotation that might have one of the highest variances in possible outcomes between "great" and "terrible" of any playoff contender, and though they might not be the best in the game or even their own division, that makes them among the most intriguing.

That makes them, if we can use a word too rarely used in the game today, fun.