Shapiro’s Comments On Spending Are Concerning

Over the weekend, Cleveland Indians team president Mark Shapiro had an interview with MLB radio in which he talked about the future of his team.

Among the things he said was that the Indians did their spending last season when they inked Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn.

This is troubling because if ever there were time to go the extra mile in spending, it would be this winter. 

The Indians made the playoffs last season and won 92 games.  With the Browns ending another terrible season and the Cavs still below .500, a solid winter would get fans excited about the 2014 baseball season.

Nothing like throwing a wet blanket on the fan base.

Look, we understand the Indians cannot have a $100 million payroll, but Baseball Reference.com estimates they will spend $81.1 million on players next season. 

Why can’t they get closer to $90 million?

Last year, the organization said they were able to sign Swisher and later Bourn because of the sale of Sportstime Ohio to Fox.  That’s great!

However, this year teams are reaping the benefits of the new national television contracts, which put an additional $25 million in each team’s pockets.  Even though the Swisher and Bourn deals get heavier in this, their second year, ownership should be able to spend a little more because of this windfall.

The problem is management, mostly Shapiro, continue to talk about financial constraints.  They think they are being honest and forthright, but to fans’ ears they sound like excuses. 

We believe most Tribe fans get that the team can’t spend like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers.  Still, supporters of the team would like them to be aggressive and build on the positive momentum created in September.

Not hear the team president talk about the financial constraints of major league baseball.

We haven’t been upset with the signings the Indians have made this off-season.  We’ve talked about how we liked David Murphy, and inking John Axford to a one-year deal to be a contender to replace Chris Perez as closer makes a lot of sense.

But the Tribe still needs to find two starting pitchers to make up for the loss of Scott Kazmir and the likely loss of Ubaldo Jimenez.  And now, getting Shaun Marcum doesn’t make up for one spot, although he’s another low risk, high reward deal for the Tribe.

Are the Indians willing to spend a significant chunk of money to get a proven major league starting pitcher?  They should be, because they have to be thinking about getting back to the post-season, and this time as a division winner.

Most of the free agent signings in baseball this winter have been players to ridiculous contracts, and we are glad the Indians aren’t involved. 

The beef here (and always has been) the constant bringing up the availability of money with the Cleveland organization.  Other teams in small markets put out competitive teams every year, like Tampa Bay and Oakland. 

Those organizations are bold and creative. 

The Indians need to adopt those teams’ philosophies of maximizing the performance of their highly paid players.  If you are paying big money to a player, he simply has to produce.

Really, it comes down to this.  Stop talking, and just improve the ballclub.  And maybe, just maybe, the Tribe will be the popular team in Cleveland once again.

MW

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