Cleveland Indians: Will The Dolans Change Their Approach?

Oct 4, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; A general view of a Cleveland Indians helmet prior to a game between the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field. Cleveland won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; A general view of a Cleveland Indians helmet prior to a game between the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field. Cleveland won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Indians
May 10, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; A general view of Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) jersey after defeating the Minnesota Twins 8-2 at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Dolan Will Never Spend Big Money

Kris Grimes

The Dolans are never going to break the bank to acquire top-level talent from outside the organization. As a Cleveland Indians fan I have learned to accept that. However, I do not believe it is all clear-cut as in they do not spend any money on the team at all.

They just spend it differently than say George Steinbrenner did with the New York Yankees or the Florida Marlins did in 1997 and 2003 when they bought two World Series titles. However, they had fire sales the following season.

The Cleveland Indians have and always will invest more money into the players that come up through the organization. Even throughout the John Hart era, most of the big money the Indians spent or offered to players went to players already on the roster.

Guys like Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome were among the highest paid Indians during their peak years. When they opted to leave, it was often said the Indians never offered enough, despite offering $120-million dollar contracts or more!

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Much like we do with the Dolans, we said Jacobs and the Cleveland Indians were cheap then. Even the best pitchers we had during the 1990’s like Dennis Martinez, Orel Hershiser, and others were not Zack Grienke break the bank-type pitchers.

They were pitchers on the back-nine of their careers, but still had enough to offer a team that had so much talent to overcome what pitching deficiencies there were. Yes, the 90’s Indians had close to or just over a $100-million dollar payroll, and yes they offered $100-million dollar contracts, but it was rare to acquire free agents from outside the organization.

So am I saying the Dolans and Dick Jacobs are the same? No, I am not saying that they are, but both owners have typically invested more into the players already in the organization than ones coming from the outside. The difference is, the Dolans along with Mark Shapiro started to like a good cheap deal all around.

Instead of signing former catcher Victor Martinez to a lucrative deal, they saw an opportunity to take a cheaper option with the potential of Carlos Santana. This is a perfect example of relying on what could be rather than what is.

Then, instead of signing pitchers who might be on the back-end of their careers or just past their prime, the Indians now take on broken pitchers. By that I mean once good or decent pitchers who have succumbed to injuries, lost confidence in their pitches, or are so lost after some success that the best offer is a minor league deal with a major league option.

The Cleveland Indians also do it with hitters. They end up signing players like Mike Napoli, Ryan Rayburn, Juan Uribe, and Brandon Moss on the cheap. In other words, guys who hit .220, but might get you 20 home runs — bargain deals or band-aid’s at best if they work out.

While the Dolans did go out of their way to bring in Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, I to this day believe that their contracts left a permanent burn mark on the leg where the Dolans keep their wallet because those deals burnt them so bad.

Point is, the Dolans and the Cleveland Indians are never going to spend money the way the fans want them to. We are never going to acquire the big bat in free agency or the top-tier pitchers.

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When the bargain deals are over on our homegrown talent and their production outweighs the mediocre contract, there’s a good chance those players are going to leave for the biggest and best contracts like Belle, Thome, and Ramirez did.

There will come a day when Kipnis, Lindor, Brantley, and Salazar will command a big payday. When that day comes, don’t expect the Dolans to pull out their checkbooks more than they already have.

The Dolans have put money into renovating and updating parts of Progressive Field, along with trying to improve the fan experience like Joe mentioned. They have also put money into the core players on this team to keep them together long enough for a good run should everything go right.

Their belief and the belief in the Indians organization is that if they can keep a solid core of players, turn it into a potential winning roster, they’ll put band-aid’s where they need to. That should be all that we expect from the Dolans. Should it change? I know id like it to, but I also know it won’t.

The 2016 trade deadline will pass without a major move, and if the Indians are going to have success, it’s going to be up to the likes of Kipnis, Lindor, Gomes, Brantley, Kluber, and Salazar to lead this team as far as they can take them.

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