The Indians were rumored to be interested in free agent outfielder Austin Jackson, but we shouldn't expect that to happen, or for the team to make any other notable additions this spring. Payroll is "tapped out," according to Jordan Bastian, MLB.com's Indians beat writer.
The Tribe had an Opening Day payroll of $88 million last year, and as presently constructed, they look to have a payroll of ~$89 million when the 2016 season starts. Given that the team's attendance has fallen every year since 2011, and that the team did not add any new revenue streams this offseason, it should come as no surprise that payroll isn't really going to increase.
The $89 million I cited includes $10 million in payouts this season to cover the contracts of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, and if you consider the fact that the team saved almost exactly that much from last year's payroll by trading them, it's reasonable to think that $10 million shouldn't really be counted this year, but it doesn't look like that will be the case.
While Jackson would represent an upgrade over the team's current options for center field (especially with Abraham Almonte out for half the season now), I'm okay with the team not spending anything more this spring. The outfield looks shaky, particularly for the 3-5 weeks of the season that Michael Brantley seems likely to miss, but the rest of the roster looks strong to me. My only concern for 2016 payroll is that if the team is in fact contending when July rolls around, will ownership be willing to take on new salary at that point to help the team? My guess is that they would be, and I hope we get to find out.