Cleveland Indians: Is there any money to spend on free agents?

Cleveland Indians Adam Jones (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians Adam Jones (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

As the Cleveland Indians stay quiet in the offseason, it’s become abundantly clear that there is zero money to spend on free agents.

To answer the headline, no, the Cleveland Indians apparently have no money to spend on free agents this offseason.

If you’re reading this, you weren’t delusional enough to believe the Tribe was ever going to sign Bryce Harper, or even a lesser free agent in A.J. Pollock.

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However, it was a slap in the face to see Cody Allen sign elsewhere for about $8.5 million. That deal can reach $10 million if Allen hits his incentives.

Seems pretty affordable, especially since it wasn’t all that long ago Tribe fans talked about the possibility of keeping either Allen or Andrew Miller.

The Tribe never had a chance to keep Miller, who received about $12 million annually over three years from the Cardinals.

But in letting Allen walk, the Tribe appears to be taking a “fingers crossed” approach in the bullpen, and the outfield.

Speaking of that beautiful green pasture on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, The News Herald’s Jeff Schudel wrote about how Adam Jones would be a fit for the current makeup of outfielders.

Based off MLB Trade rumors’ prediction that Jones would best go with the Tribe on a one-year, $8 million contract, he’s right.

In acquiring Jones, the Tribe would have at least one outfielder to count on heading into Spring Training.

Jones isn’t the same player he once was, but veteran leadership would be welcomed, as would be his .281 average from a season ago. He also hit 15 homers and drove in 63 runs.

With Jones covering the leaking holes for a year, it’d be a heck-of-a-lot easier to to cover two spots in the outfield, rather than all three.

Bradley Zimmer, who is coming off shoulder surgery, is just too big of a question mark because he’s yet to prove he can hit.

Jordan Luplow, Tyler Naquin and Greg Allen have to prove they can be more than fourth outfielders, while Leonys Martin has to stay healthy after overcoming a life threatening illness toward the end of last season.

The Indians are still waiting on the arbitration settlement with Trevor Bauer. Perhaps that final number will dictate how much, if any, the Tribe can use to buy players. It’s been speculated Bauer could get around $11 million.

The Indians payroll currently sits at $99 million, not counting Bauer’s forthcoming salary, according to The website estimates the Tribe’s payroll to be around $118 million once the season starts, which would be $17 million less than the beginning of last season.

Had the Indians started last season with a  $118 million payroll, they would’ve ranked among the bottom third payrolls in baseball.

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Adding someone like Jones would still keep the Indians underneath their 2018 payroll, but it just seems unlikely at this point that the organization would make that kind of signing.