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 Post subject: Dollars and sense: Is there any wiggle room within the Cleve
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:25 pm
Posts: 3
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The calendar flipped open to January's clean slate, snow flurries trickled down to the ground and the quiet air of winter spread throughout Cleveland.
The Indians likely will not interrupt the tranquility with any roster shakeups. Eventually, Mike Napoli will officially join the fold. A few more veterans could receive invitations to spring training. Perhaps the team will sign another reliever or outfielder for a couple of bucks.
Talks about the Indians dealing a starting pitcher for a hitter have quelled. Any inklings that the club would add a free-agent position player on a multi-year, eight-figure contract were dismissed long ago.
Is there any wiggle room, however, within the budget? Can the Indians still add a player if free-agent prices plummet, or if a particular trade offer falls into the laps of Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff?
Let's examine the potential payroll for the 2016 campaign. But first, let's run through a series of facts about the Indians' 2016 payroll, as currently calculated.
<em>Note: All figures are supplied by Cot's Contracts&nbsp;and Baseball-Reference.&nbsp;The Indians are expected to begin the season with a payroll in the neighborhood of $90 million Michael Brantley Jersey.
<em><strong>Carlos Santana stands to be the Indians' highest-paid player in 2016.
The man who figures to spend the majority of his time at designated hitter will be the only player on the roster to haul in more than $8 million this year. The Indians hold a $12 million option -- or a $1.2 million buyout -- on the 29-year-old for 2017. Ten players on the 2015 Dodgers made a higher salary than what the Indians' highest-paid player will earn in 2016 Francisco Lindor Jersey.
<em><strong>Chris Johnson will earn the second-highest salary from the Indians in 2016.
The Indians severed ties with the veteran last month, even though ownership owes Johnson $17.5 million over the next two-plus years, including a $7.5 million figure in 2016.
<em><strong>Sums distributed to cover the costs of Johnson, Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher could count for up to one-fifth&nbsp;of the Tribe's payroll in 2016.
The team is sending cash to Atlanta as part of an August exchange of funds and high-salaried, injury-prone veterans.
<em><strong>The average player's salary across the league in 2015 was north of $4 million. Only seven players are projected to earn that much from the Indians in 2016.
None of the Indians' six arbitration-eligible players projects to earn that much. Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco will likely earn what is considered a league-average salary in 2016.
<em><strong>The Indians' projected five-man starting rotation will combine to earn somewhere between $13-15 million in 2016.
Twenty-nine different starting pitchers (and counting) around the league will earn that much&nbsp;on their own. White Sox southpaw John Danks, who posted a 7-15 record and 4.71 ERA, is on the books for a $15.8 million figure in 2016.
<em><strong>Kluber and Carrasco, combined, will earn $9.2 million in 2016, or roughly $1 million more than Mike Pelfrey will receive from the Tigers.
Pelfrey, who went 6-11 with a 4.26 ERA and an average of 4.7 strikeouts and 10.8 hits allowed per nine innings last year, signed a two-year, $16 million deal with Detroit.
<em><strong>Barring significant changes, the Indians' roster is going to get expensive (relatively speaking, of course) over the next few years.
The Indians won't be able to stay in this $80-90 million range forever, unless they ship out some of their core players, such as Kluber, Carrasco, Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley or Yan Gomes.
<strong>The upper class
The wealthy segment of the payroll population has a bit of a different feel to it in 2016. Finally, the Indians' core players are the ones most handsomely rewarded. Santana, Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis -- and Napoli, once his deal is officially announced -- will be the highest-paid players on the team Brandon Moss Jersey, barring any surprising signings or trades or extensions.
No player will earn an eight-figure salary, a la Bourn and Swisher the last few years.
<strong>The mainstays
Kipnis, Brantley and Santana are digging into the more lucrative parts of the long-term deals they signed years ago. Relative to the going prices on the free-agent market, they are signed at reasonable prices. The same could be said for Kluber and Carrasco, who will each earn more than $4 million in 2016 (still a paltry price to pay for a competent starting pitcher).
Catcher Yan Gomes, coming off of a miserable season, will earn about $2.5 million in 2015. He is signed through 2019, with a pair of team options beyond that.
<strong>The arbitration-eligible folk
The Indians have six players eligible for arbitration: Cody Allen, Josh Tomlin, Bryan Shaw, Jeff Manship, Zach McAllister and Lonnie Chisenhall. MLBTradeRumors.com projects the six to come away with a combined total of $14.1 million in salaries. Shaw is in his second year of arbitration eligibility. Tomlin is in his third. The other four are first-timers.
<strong>The other guys
Cleveland has nine players under contract for 2016. It also has the six who are eligible for arbitration. Then, the club must fill out the remaining 10 spots on the 25-man roster. Pre-arbitration players such as Francisco Lindor, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer will almost certainly be included http://www.indiansfanshop.com/11-Indians_Jason_Kipnis_Jersey, with their salaries set near the major league minimum. The same goes for Giovanny Urshela, Abraham Almonte and others.
Veterans, such as Joba Chamberlain and Joe Thatcher, who are signed to minor league deals that include spring training invites, have their own salary figures determined should they break camp with the big league club.
So, the 10 remaining spots on the 25-man roster could cost the Indians somewhere between $7-10 million. Add that to the projected arbitration figure ($14.1 million) and the salary owed to the nine guys -- Napoli included -- under contract (about $47 million) and the Indians would be looking at a grand total of about $70 million.
Ah, but there's one more thing: that pesky sunk cost, the cumbersome paperweight resting atop Paul Dolan's wallet.
The Indians are on the hook for $7.5 million to Johnson and another lump sum&nbsp;to the Atlanta Braves this year and next. They also paid Ryan Raburn $100,000 to play elsewhere in 2016.
That inches the Indians closer to a $90 million payroll. It's still near the bottom of the league, but it's not a small enough figure to allow the club much wiggle room as the rest of the offseason unfolds.


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