In this day and age of parity around Major League Baseball, more and more teams are making their way to the playoffs. However, there are some teams that just can’t seem to get over the hump to make the postseason. The Pittsburgh Pirates finally broke their two decade streak in 2013. There are 11 teams that haven’t made the postseason in the last four years and while some of the playoff droughts are short, there are some teams that haven’t made it in over a decade.
It is surprising to see that some of the biggest markets make this list of the longest playoff droughts. Many assume that because a team is in a major market that they can just spend their way to a playoff berth. Obviously, that isn’t the case for these teams. Some of them appear to be on the right path though, while others are still stuck in the mud waiting for the next opportunity or the next great young player to show up.
Here are the MLB’s top 10 longest playoff droughts.
10. Colorado Rockies/Los Angeles Angels — Last Playoff Appearance: 2009
The Rockies and Angels are tied at the No. 10 spot at four years each. Both teams last made the postseason in 2009. Colorado lost in the National League Divisional Series to the Philadelphia Phillies while Los Angeles made to the American League Championship Series before falling to the New York Yankees. The Rockies appear like they are on the right track with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez on their roster in a competitive NL West while the Angels are loaded with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton but haven’t been able to get out of their own way in recent years to make the playoffs. Both teams could easily make it in 2014 however.
9. Chicago Cubs — Last Playoff Appearance: 2008
The Cubs last made the playoffs in 2008 when they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Divisional Series. In fact, the Cubs haven’t won a postseason game since Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS and have lost nine straight playoff games. Chicago should be a better team but their rebuilding plan has seen the Lovable Losers continue to lose a lot over the last three seasons with no sign of hope happening in 2014 and little hope looking to 2015. It could be another few seasons before the Cubs make the playoffs again, especially if all their prospects develop. Right now though, the fans at Wrigley Field will continue to cry into their beers.
8. Chicago White Sox — Last Playoff Appearance: 2008
The White Sox, like their crosstown rivals, haven’t been to the playoffs since 2008 when they lost in the ALDS to the Tampa Bay Rays. It has only been nine years since the team won the World Series in 2005 but the team hasn’t been the same since then. The Sox suffered through a 99-loss season in 2013 and while the 2014 campaign appears to be going better, there is likely not a lot of hope for them to make the postseason this year. The young prospects that are on the team’s roster now however, and those who are about to make their appearance on the South Side, give White Sox fans some hope for the future and their chances to win another World Series before the Cubs.
7. New York Mets — Last Playoff Appearance: 2006
Another major market team, Mets haven’t been to the postseason since 2006 when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. The Mets won 97 games during that 2006 season and had a seven-game lead in the NL East with 17 games to play in 2007 before faltering. They were close again in 2008 but allowed another late season lead to slip away. The team hasn’t been the same since and both the team and their fans are still waiting to get back to the playoffs. There are things to be positive about with the Mets, but until they are able to close out a season to make the playoffs, there will be doubters all around New York.
6. San Diego Padres — Last Playoff Appearance: 2006
The Padres made their last appearance in the postseason in 2006, losing to the Cardinals in the NLDS. The team has had just two winning seasons since their last playoff appearance and hasn’t been above the .500 mark to end a year since 2010. While they did make the 2007 Wild Card tie-breaker game, that game was counted as a regular season game or Game 163. The Padres had an 8-6 lead in that game in 2007 against the Colorado Rockies but gave up three runs in the bottom of the 13th inning. Since that night, success has been fleeting. San Diego continues to struggle and who knows when they will get another chance at the postseason.
5. Houston Astros — Last Playoff Appearance: 2005
The Astros haven’t been in the postseason since 2005 when they made the World Series before losing to the White Sox. The team remained competitive until 2010 before falling into some of the worst play that baseball has ever seen. The Astros won just 56 games in 2011, declined to 55 wins in 2012 and had only 51 wins during the 2013 season. It has turned into a long-term rebuilding project in Houston as they continue their transition from the National League to the American League which happened before the 2013 season. The team has a lot of young talent at the minor league level that could turn things around quickly if everything falls into place.
4. Miami Marlins — Last Playoff Appearance: 2003
The last appearance for the Marlins franchise in the postseason was 2003 when they beat the Yankees to win the World Series. It was a magical season during that 2003 campaign, but since then the team hasn’t been able to win enough to get back to the playoffs. There have been four seasons where the team has finished over the .500 mark but they have only finished second or worse in the NL East since that championship season. It is another rebuilding project that is going on in Miami with their new stadium and new name, having changed from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins. It could be a long time before the Marlins make the postseason again.
3. Seattle Mariners — Last Playoff Appearance: 2001
The Mariners haven’t seen postseason play since 2001 when they lost the ALCS to the Yankees in five games. That Seattle team had won an American League record 116 games but couldn’t get to the World Series. The team won 93 games in each of the next two seasons but couldn’t make the playoffs in either year. Since then, Seattle has had trouble staying on top of the AL West with just one second place finish since 2004. It doesn’t appear that it is going to get any easier either, what with the talent all around them in the division. The Mariners could be waiting a long time to see postseason baseball in the Pacific Northwest again.
2. Toronto Blue Jays — Last Playoff Appearance: 1993
It may be hard to believe but the Blue Jays haven’t made the postseason since winning the 1993 World Series over two decades ago. Since that season, Toronto has finished second in the AL East just once and has floundered around the .500 mark most seasons. It is a far cry from the teams that won two straight titles in the early-1990s. The Blue Jays have tried many ways to get better including adding a bunch of high-priced players in recent years, but with no success. The lone Canadian team left in Major League Baseball is carrying the weight of the country on their shoulders but hasn’t been able to get back their previous winning ways.
1. Kansas City Royals — Last Playoff Appearance: 1985
The Royals top this list as they haven’t been to the postseason since 1985 when they won the World Series over the Cardinals. The last three decades haven’t been kind to Kansas City, as the last time the team even finished second in their division was 1995 during a strike-shortened season. The team finally had their first winning season in a decade in 2013 and is on the right track to finally breaking their long postseason drought in 2014. The days of George Brett, Frank White and Willie Wilson are gone along with team’s winning ways from the 1970s and early 80s. Maybe this can be the year that the Royals finally make their fans happy and give them a playoff appearance.