There was a lot of conservation today regarding Indians’ president Mark Shapiro’s interview with Kevin Kleps in Crain’s Cleveland Business. Most of the discussion had to do with Shapiro’s comment that the Tribe will use every method they can find to improve the team other than “the highest level of free agent”.
In reality, that’s understandable.
If you look at the list of free agents, particularly hitters, which is the team’s biggest need, it consists of a lot of players in their 30’s, an age where skills are declining.
To be fair, to get one of those players, the franchise would have to get involved with a bloated deal, which runs for longer than the player is useful.
We get that, and most intelligent baseball fans understand it.
However, to say it this while most ticket buyers are still a little upset that the Indians did not make the playoffs, probably isn’t the smartest thing to say, particularly if you already have an attendance problem.
Shapiro thinks he is just being honest and realistic, but he’s now dealing with a fan base that has seen two of the biggest stars in basketball choose to come to Cleveland, and the Browns have a national face in Johnny Manziel.
If the front office is going to make any public statement, it should be something like they are disappointed not to make the post-season in 2014 and the organizational goal is to win a World Series, and everything we do this off-season is working toward that goal.
That isn’t saying you are going to go hog-wild and spend millions and millions of dollars. But it is proclaiming to everyone that the Cleveland Indians organization is about winning, a thought that many baseball fans in the area don’t think is the case.
Instead, fans get more talk about budgets and positives.
We hate to bring up the past, but when the Dolan family bought the team, they told everyone they would spend when it was appropriate.
Our question is when will it be more appropriate than right now.
They say the name of the game in baseball is pitching, and over the last two months of the season, the Tribe’s starting pitching was championship quality.
Cleveland now has an ace at the top of the rotation in Corey Kluber, who will no doubt finish in the top two in this year’s Cy Young Award voting. To compliment Kluber, they have a cadre of young, hard throwers in Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer.
Adding another arm to compete with lefty T. J. House, Zack McAllister, and Josh Tomlin, along with some much-needed hitting to put the 2015 Indians in position to be right where the Orioles and Royals are right now, a chance to get to the World Series.
Again, we understand the market constraints and the probability the Indians can’t (or won’t) support a $100 million payroll. However, isn’t this off-season the time to get out of their $80-$85 million “comfort zone”, and add another $10-$15 million to get this team the help it needs?
We realize that high payrolls don’t always result in a playoff spot or a title, but it helps, and both Kansas City and Baltimore aren’t in the upper echelon in terms of salaries, they do outspend the Indians.
The television ratings show there is interest in the Cleveland Indians, it’s time the ownership and front office gave the fans a reason to buy tickets to Progressive Field. That reason is showing they want to win and win now.