The MLB offseason started with a whimper and was as consistent as a PSA reminding us of these “unprecedented” times every day. Free agency has been slow, as most would expect. The top players are still available, but the focus has shifted to trading for players rather than signing them. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen big name trades from Josh Bell going to Washington, Darvish and Snell moving to a whale’s vagina (San Diego), and other small time acquisitions as teams build out their respective rosters for 2021.
Regardless of a pandemic and a loss of revenue, one constant was always that the Indians would listen to offers for their MVP-caliber shortstop, Francisco Lindor. So, it was not exactly a surprise that Cleveland struck a deal to move Lindor, but it is surprising to see the Mets acquire him and even more surprising to see what they gave up to get him. This has to be one of the most lopsided deals in MLB history, and that’s really saying something. Cleveland’s front office and ownership has been called out by everyone from the media to the fans, and they deserve every bit of it.
Paul Dolan is known for being stringent with his checkbook, and that’s putting it mildly. It’s easy to give small-market teams the benefit of the doubt when it comes to offseason transactions. Many will forgive teams like Tampa and Oakland for their trades because in the end, they still seem to find a way to compete at the highest level. Criticism is magnified then, when a team like Cleveland, who already was operating at the lowest team payroll going into 2021, trades its best player under the guise of cost-saving. It’s not a savvy move to shed payroll when you’re only 10 percent toward the luxury tax threshold. For perspective, the Indians’ are still the lowest payroll as it stands today, and it isn’t particularly close either. The 29th lowest payroll is about $40M compared to the Indians’ $23M.
The next two closest teams, the Pirates and the Orioles, outspend the Indians by almost 2x. Considering that both teams are in a rebuilding phase, there should be no excuse then for a team like Cleveland, who is a perennial playoff team, to not look to add to their roster. This latest move is yet another in a long line of troubling transactions.
Let’s not even get into what the Indians received back, because in the end, it was not comparable to the players they let go. Lindor was the obvious headliner, but to essentially throw in another all star like Carlos Carrasco is next-level idiocy. The Dolans should be ashamed, and the city of Cleveland deserves better.
All credit goes to the Mets in this deal. The Mets, for a long time, were the laughing stock of ownership, but Steve Cohen has changed that narrative almost overnight. Cohen is setting the example for the rest of MLB owners — be aggressive and remember who you’re working for; the fans. Paul Dolan and his net worth of $4.6B should take notes.
Baseball is a business, but if you alienate your customers due to your incompetence, your revenue will tank regardless of the current climate around sports. The main differentiator between an owner like Cohen and Dolan is not their net-worths, but the passion each man has for the game and their team, and the last year and a half has made it crystal clear that the Dolans do not value the sport nor their fans. Good luck Cleveland and here’s to hoping help is on the way.
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