Top Payroll Players Produce Little For Cleveland Indians


Jun 12, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Indians designated hitter Nick Swisher (33) blows a bubble after striking out during the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Red Sox won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians’ top-paid players aren’t living up to expectations on the field, or at the bank for team president Paul Dolan.

The Dolans have $53.7 million tied up among its top five highest paid players, and those players are leaving fans to wonder when the franchise is going to start getting some bang for its buck.

The Indians have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. The teams ranks 24th at $81.4 million. Nick Swisher is the team’s highest paid player, earning $15 million this season.

• Swish is struggling, and that’s putting it nicely, to hit .200. He has managed to climb over the Mendoza Line, and he’s now slashing .202/.286/.337 with seven homers, 34 RBIs and .623 OPS. The former Ohio State Buckeye was brought to Cleveland to add excitement, and some power to the lineup. He could still turn things around after the break, but as for now, the Indians will have to live with the $2.1 million they’re paying for each BrOhio home run.

More from Cleveland Guardians

• Next man up is Michael Bourn. The former National Leaguer had started to look like the player the Indians thought they were getting for the Atlanta Braves, but hamstring issues have curtailed Bourn’s season yet again. Bourn’s being paid $13.5 million and was thought to be a big stolen-base threat after signing his contract. In 2011, he swiped 61 bags for the Braves and Astros, and snagged another 42 for Atlanta in 2012.

Bourn netted just 22 steals in 130 games last year, and has just seven as of July 11.

Bourn made $7 million last year, on top of what he’s earning in 2014. That’s $20.5 million for 30 stolen bases. That breaks down to $683,000 per bag.

He also hasn’t been the same defender he was in his Gold Glove years, and is ranked near the bottom rung of center fielders with a -7.4 ultimate zone rating, according to

• Asdrubal Cabrea can be a free agent after the season, and is making $10 million in his walk year. Cabby is among the worst defensive shortstops in the game (-6.9 UZR) and is slashing .251/.313/.398 with eight homers and 37 RBIs.

For those expecting more, they shouldn’t. This is the type of hitter Cabrera is, especially compared to his last couple of seasons. The 25-homer, 87 RBI campaign of 2011 is the anomaly of Cabby’s career.

• Something has to be wrong with Justin Masterson, right? Maybe that’s why he’s finally on the DL with knee issues. Masterons’ also in his walk year, and is earning $9.76 million in the last year of his contract.

The 29-year old is 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA, so the Indians have paid $2.4 million for each victory.

The Indians are probably thanking their lucky stars Masterson turned down an extension this spring. Masty’s issuing 5.14 walks per nine innings, the highest, by far, of his career.

• Right fielder David Murphy is making just $5.5 million, but that’s good enough to put him in the top five. To be fair, Murphy wasn’t even supposed to play as much as he has, but has appeared in 84 contests.

With Ryan Raburn looking like the Ryan Raburn of two years ago, manager Terry Francona has had no choice but to overuse the former Texas Ranger.

Murphy ended June mired in one of the worst slumps of his career (1-for-41).

He’s hovering around .240, which is better than the .220 he hit for the Rangers last year, but it’s also a far cry from 2012, when he hit .304 with 15 homers.