Indians Trades Made Bottom Line Sense
Still wondering why the Indians traded away the reigning American League Cy Young and their franchise catcher last week before the trade deadline? So were a lot of Indians fans, despite a relatively rich haul of prospects Cleveland got in return.
So, why the deals? It turns out that the answer is a simple one, though it's based much more on the economic bottom line than results on the field.
According to a report from the AP today, Indians owner Tom Dolan admitted that his team will lose approximately $16 million this season based on both plummeting ticket revenues and rising player salaries.
$16 million is a heck of a lot of money, even for the owner of a professional sports franchise. The Indians as an organization have always approached being competition with a full dose of the reality that is being a small market team; the Tribe always knew it had a small window to compete for a World Series, and last week team management decided that window had closed.
Was that closing window sped up by the team's sudden crippling financial concerns? Almost undoubtedly. No team can continue to operate will losing $16 million per season, and there was no way Cleveland could have anticipated the depth of the attendance drop off the team has seen -- current projects hold that 500,000 fewer fans will attend Indians games this year than did last year.
It seems hard to believe that the Indians would be the only team facing such dire financial straits, but they may be the only club willing to be honest about them. Shipping Lee and Martinez's hefty contracts out will save the team close to $11 million on the pitcher (assuming the Phillies exercise Lee's 2010 option) and roughly $10 million on Martinez (again, assuming Boston exercises the catcher's 2010 option). Saving $21 million will go a long way toward stanching the financial bleeding at
Jacob's Progressive Field.
Are the Indians betraying their fans by trading away the team's top talent? Or does Dolan have a responsibility to the future of the franchise to keep his team from taking on more economic water? What do you think?
August 6, 2009; 3:22 PM ET
Categories: Indians | Tags: Cliff Lee, Indians, Phillies, Red Sox, victor martinez
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Posted by: adampschroeder | August 6, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse
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