Experience, farm system, money: Same factors in play for Cubs, Indians to return to World Series

When Indians general manager Chris Antonetti crosses paths Sunday with Cubs counterparts Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer at Sloan Park on Sunday, they can share a laugh over their stressful state during the rain delay before the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

“I remember the look on Jed and Theo’s faces, same as mine,” Antonetti recalled at spring training. “Just ashen and fatigued and angst, (wondering) is this game ever going to end?”

The Cubs outlasted the Indians in one of the most memorable Game 7s in Series history. It’s outcome heightened expectations about the possibility of a rematch.

Both teams are legitimate threats to repeat. But there are questions about their chances to return to the Series this fall.

Here are three factors that could dictate their fortunes.


Seven of the Cubs’ 10 players who started Game 7 were 27 or younger, including five 25 or younger.

“I can’t even put into words how good that is for us,” Kris Bryant said. “Ernie Banks never had a chance to play in a playoff game. For us to be able to do that that early in our careers, especially Game 7, I think if we’re put in those situations again, we’ll know how to play relaxed.”

Meanwhile, the left side of the Indians’ infield — All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and third baseman Jose Martinez — is younger than 25, and starting pitchers Trevor Bauer (26), Danny Salazar (27) and Carlos Carrasco (29) are under team control through…

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