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Swerb, you still allowed to go off on Dolan?

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Swerb, you still allowed to go off on Dolan?

Unread postby jb » Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:42 am

Here's the unspun payroll numbers for the season:


http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/plaindea ... xml&coll=2

Sunday, March 18, 2007Paul HoynesPlain Dealer Reporter
St. Petersburg, Fla.- The Indians' payroll headed into the 2007 season is bigger than it was last year, but not by much.

They will open the season on April 2 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago with a 25-man roster worth just over $61.5 million. Their opening day payroll last year was slightly above $56 million.

How much of a disadvantage that puts the Indians at may quickly become apparent because they start the year with a three-game series against division rival Chicago. The White Sox will enter this season with the biggest payroll in the American League Central at more than $100 million.

The Tribe's payroll could have been in the $66 million range if not for the unexpected retirement of Keith Foulke at the start of camp. Foulke signed a one-year, $5 million deal during the off-season.

Had Foulke not retired, the Indians would still be ranked fourth in salary in the ultra-competitive AL Central. Chicago leads the way followed by Detroit at $90 million and Minnesota at $70 million. Kansas City is fifth and closing quickly on the Indians.

Owner David Glass' spending spree during the off-season increased the Royals' payroll to about $60 million.

After trading veterans Bob Wickman, Jason Johnson, Guillermo Mota, Ronnie Belliard, Todd Hollandsworth, Ben Broussard and Eduardo Perez last year when they fell out of contention, the Indians promised to spend liberally over the winter. They signed outfielders David Dellucci ($11.5 million, three years), Trot Nixon ($3 million, one year) and relievers Joe Borowski ($4.25 million, one year), Roberto Hernandez ($3.5 million, one year) and Aaron Fultz ($1.65 million, one year).

They spent $6.32 million on arbitration-eligible players Jason Michaels ($4.25 million, two years), Rafael Betancourt ($840,000), Jason Davis ($670,000) and Matt Miller ($560,000).

When weighed against the money they saved by dumping salary last season, the impact of the more than $30 million spent during the off-season was muted. The payroll, of course, could grow before Opening Day if the Indians sign one of their own potential free agents.

They are in negotiations with Jake Westbrook, who can be a free agent at the end of this season. Paul Byrd can be a free agent after this year if the Indians don't exercise his club option for 2008. C.C. Sabathia and Travis Hafner can be free agents after the 2008 season

The Indians have not picked their 25-man roster, but The Plain Dealer's version, barring something unexpected, should be close. This roster includes Ryan Garko ($383,100) and utility infielder Hector Luna ($408,300). If they don't make it and are replaced by a combination of Luis Rivas ($525,000), Mike Rouse ($380,100) or Joe Inglett ($383,600), the payroll won't change much.

The Yankees and Boston remain at the top of the payroll mountain in American League. The Yankees should open the year at $182 million, while Boston will be at $160 million.

The Angels and Mariners are two other teams with payrolls over $100 million. The Indians have the third lowest payroll in the league ahead of Kansas City and Tampa Bay at $24 million.

The Indians rank 24th overall in the big leagues ahead of the Royals, Rockies, Pirates, Nationals, Marlins and Devil Rays.

Manager Eric Wedge says he doesn't worry about getting beat by a bigger checkbook during the season.

"I never want to use that as an excuse," said Wedge. "That's all that is. If we go out and play like we're capable, if we're consistent, we can beat anybody."

It must be a consideration for Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro, who last week agreed to a five-year contract extension.

"The payroll challenges you to be more efficient and resourceful in bridging the gap," said Shapiro. "You have to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. It could be medical, coaching, strength and [conditioning]."

Team president Paul Dolan said the Indians have never been stronger financially because of MLB's prosperity and the "maturation" of SportsTime Ohio, the club-owned regional TV network.

If the Indians contend this season, Shapiro will be in a position to help with a trade. The extra $5 million sitting in the bank because of Foulke's retirement is not the only reason for that possibility.

"I would have felt that way with or without Foulke," said Shapiro. "In all but a few situations, the question would be what players are we willing to give up, not the payroll we'd be taking back."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

phoynes@plaind.com, 216-999-5158
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Unread postby consigliere » Sun Mar 18, 2007 12:20 pm

Remember, the payroll would have been $66-67M with Foulke, but since he retired, that $5M went unspent. There isn't anything out there to spend it on after Foulke retired.

A payroll in the mid to high 60s is about as accepted, at least from this corner. I felt we were in line for a bump to the mid 60s this year, and next year it will top out in the low 70s at most.

Not apologizin, just sayin.
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Unread postby swerb » Sun Mar 18, 2007 12:37 pm

No team in baseball turns more profits than the Indians, despite what all the people that really believe that the Dolans "spend what they bring in" will try and tell you.

This link says it all:

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/33/Income_1.html

This year, specifically, I really wished the team would have gone out and have Justin Speier the 3 years at 4.5 million per. I would have made it impossible for Moises Alou to reject a one or two year deal to come here. There was no reason not to on a short term deal. This team has the money to do so.

Again, and like with BJ Ryan and Bob Howry, the team drew their line in the sand, and refused to spend a penny more than what they felt these players market value was.

So now, with Foulke off the books, the payroll is barely above last years opening day payroll despite exploding MLB revenues, and the fact the team shed 10-12 mill in payroll throughout the season last year.

Bottom line, there is absolutely no reason why this team should not have Hafner extended in the next month.
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Unread postby furls » Sun Mar 18, 2007 12:58 pm

This just proves that from a business perspective, the Indians are among the best run franchises in the Majors. Unfortunately, running a business and winning championships are not necessarily the same thing.
Coming from a Wolverine, we're the football equivalent of a formerly abused wife of a meth addict who just remarried the safe nice guy. We're just glad we have someone who's aware that it's a rivalry and that tackling on defense is integral. Baby steps.

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Unread postby consigliere » Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:41 pm

Swerb wrote:Again, and like with BJ Ryan and Bob Howry, the team drew their line in the sand, and refused to spend a penny more than what they felt these players market value was.


Not contesting the point, but just adding a "spin" to it so to speak.

Shouldn't the Indians draw a line in the sand when it comes to free agents though? I mean, with three mega stars hitting FA in the next two years, isn't it wise not to blow your wad in FA and instead use your resources to resign your players? If they go out and go the extra miles on guys like Carlos Lee, Moises Alou, etc, it severely handicaps their ability to resign their own? No?

There is no guarantee they resign their own, but I think it makes a helluva lot more sense to save money to attempt to resign those guys than use it up on declining FA options?

Just asking.
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Unread postby consigliere » Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:47 pm

Another thing to keep in mind, the payroll will continue to increase even without the signing of FAs. For example, the following players salaries will include by these amounts in 2008:

Hafner: $1M
Lee: $1M
Martinez: $1.25M
Peralta: $1.5M
Sabathia: $250K
Sizemore: $2.25M

That is a $7.75M increase in payroll without adding anyone, let alone not even considering all the arby eligible guys next year. I have 2008 as the year our payroll tops out, as it is the last year with Sabathia and Hafner under contract. After that, I feel it will hover somwhere around $67-73M each year.

That said, there is no excuse for the Indians not being able to resign one of the big three looming FAs. It will be Hafner of course. The question is whether they can resign Sabathia or Westbrook, with Sabathia being much, much more important.
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