The Cleveland Indians are in the midst of a wide open window of contention. They have won the AL Central each of the last three years, a run that includes an AL pennant and a 102-win season. They have two superstars in their prime and the rotation is anchored by a two-time Cy Young winner.
And yet, they have trimmed roughly $18 million in payroll from last season, per Cot's Contracts. More discouraging this offseason were all the rumors that they were possibly going to trade either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer to shed more dollars. They are and it's a weak division. They should be going all in, not selling off.
Even more discouraging now is a wide-ranging interview in The Athletic with owner Paul Dolan. It's long and well worth the read. I found this portion a bit troubling: When Dolan was discussing that he wouldn't do a deal like the one Manny Machado (10 years, $300 million) got from the Padres, he said this regarding Indians superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor.
"Enjoy him," Dolan said. "We control him for three more years. Enjoy him and then we'll see what happens."
Lindor, 25, has finished ninth, fifth and six, respectively, in AL MVP voting in the last three years. Last season, he hit .277/.352/.519 (131 OPS+) with 42 doubles, 38 homers, 92 RBI, 129 runs and 25 steals. He was worth 7.9 WAR and 12 defensive runs saved at the most important non-battery position. This is a true five-tool superstar. Again, he's only 25 years old.
The owner of a franchise worth over a billion dollars, according to Forbes, just essentially told his fan base to enjoy that player while they still can. That's pretty maddening.