Much has been made around Northeast Ohio concerning the Cleveland Indians inaction at acquiring players for the upcoming 2018 campaign. While some teams such as the Yankees, Giants and Angels have made significant additions to their roster, the Indians have been relatively quiet.
When you take a look at Cleveland’s payroll expectations, it’s easy to see why Cleveland has been almost completely absent these last few months. According to Spotrac, Cleveland’s payroll was about $140 million to end 2017 (their highest ever). It looks to be about the same heading into 2018.
Cleveland has been linked to various trade rumors over the offseason including trades with the Mets and Yankees involving Jason Kipnis, trades with the Cubs including Danny Salazar and trades with Baltimore swirling around Manny Machado. While some of those trades are logical, none have happened.
With a 93-69 mark, Fangraphs currently projects the 2018 Cleveland Indians to easily win their third consecutive AL Central crown. Minnesota, their closest competitor, is projected at .500 (81-81). When you put these projections along with the payroll already exceeding expectations, it’s clear as to why Cleveland hasn’t done much this offseason.
It’s more likely that Cleveland adds to their needs during the trade deadline. One glaring need is bullpen depth. Although Cleveland has Cody Allen and Andrew Miller to lead the back end of the bullpen, the arms leading up to them are a bit thin.
Though it’s possible that Cleveland moves one of their starters to the bullpen, they have not lead the public to believe so. Manager Terry Francona will make sure that there are enough arms in his bullpen, though with Cleveland’s rotation, there may not be a need for a deep bullpen.
With only two weeks left before pitchers and catchers report, it will be interesting to see if Cleveland stands pat or makes another move.