There are two types of people for whom money means nothing. The incredibly rich because they can just buy whatever they want, and the incredibly broke because if you don’t have something, why would you care about it? I fall more in the latter basket, so after hearing the Cleveland Indians’ valuation just topped $1 billion, naturally, I want to figure out how to spend that billion bucks on Indians-related things. Some economists might say “don’t spend all your money, keep some for later” and “that’s not how valuations work, idiot”.
Pish-posh. Some thoughts follow.
Pay Francisco Lindor
Obviously you take care of the franchise player, the most exciting young guy to come out of the farm system since Grady Sizemore — and probably already better than Sizemore ever was — and the crux of every moment of contention the Indians will have for the next decade or so. So if he got 200 million over ten years, it’s that “for life” kind of contract so everyone stays happy, he stays in Cleveland and the Indians still get a nice discount based on his actual value. Seriously, if you take the $8 million per win, he’s easily a $40 million a year player, and that $8 million figure might be obsolete anyway. This guy’s gotta stay an Indian, and if the Indians have a billion dollars, as my poor understanding suggests they do, this is a good place to invest.
Of course, if they’re going to throw him a bone, might as well tear up Jose Ramirez’s contract too and give him a couple dozen more millions. I want that side of the infield well taken care of. That’s the heart of the team right there.
Do something about the park
Look, spending this much money is hard if you want to be in any way sensical. I haven’t been to Progressive Field in over a decade, a consequence of never living closer than 400 miles from it. But one thing always bothered me about it — the skyline of the city, such that there is, is completely blocked by the way the stands wrap around. The Indians already have trouble getting butts in the seats, so taking some out wouldn’t be a huge problem for revenue streams. And they certainly don’t want to build a new stadium — even $1 billion isn’t enough to do that. I saw this idea online a couple years back though, that involved removing that area that has those weird shipping containers, moving the scoreboard tower to that side, and opening up the view of Key Tower, Terminal Tower and the rest. Here is what I mean:
Basically, that. Use your imagination and see how pretty it would be. That would cost, what, $350 million? That’s how much it cost to build the whole thing 25 years ago. How much do things cost? Anyway, I think it would create a nice new feel for the park, make it a bit more intimate, feel a bit new, and actually pull the city into the stadium rather than walling it off.
The place is already lovely (except for the weird club boxes behind the plate), this would turn it into a gem. Plus some of that could go to other things around the park. More 13 dollar district ticket type things that get people in and sipping on some oat sodas. More solar panels would be cool. Power all of downtown, give back to the community.
So that’s $550 million I’ve spent. And pretty smartly, mostly. A good player or two and a total refresh of the park. What else is there? Water slide? Spending a billion dollars is hard.
Maybe give Trevor Bauer a fatty contract? That always feels dangerous, throwing $125 million or so at a pitcher, but every time he’s written about, there’s talk of his health and durability because of how he approaches training. Assuming that’s not all bunk, why not? He’s showing that all the work is paying off, and even at $20 million a year for like six or seven years would be a pretty big bargain.
You know, considering how the Yankees and other teams spend money, it’s hard to figure out how to blow a metric ton of cash. Well, technically 10 metric tons if it’s all hundreds. It’s just so boring to say “spend it on free agents”. Like, duh. What if the Indians dumped two or three hundred million into academies around Central and South America? They already have a pretty good pipeline in the Dominican, why not expand it? I’m trying to blow all this money in a couple months, not over many, many years. So this at least pays for a future for the team even if it does break the informal “Brewster’s MIllions” rule I set for myself. I don’t want to be stupid and do things like give Corey Kluber a hundred mil, he’s getting up there. I’m not an idiot.
They could build some sort of weather control device. Nothing too major, just a localized one so April games aren’t, you know, snowy. And we know their cyborg construction facilities are top notch, but what about the cloning projects I’m convinced the Yankees have built? You can’t tell me Aaron Judge isn’t some sort of creation that combined the attributes of Derek Jeter and Babe Ruth. THhe Indians could do that maybe. Make an amalgamation of Nap Lajoie and Albert Belle, whatever that would look like. Or what about seeing around the curve of space-time? I think I heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about that once. THat could help with seeing how games would go, or give a jump on changes in the way the game is played. A couple hundred mil could buy some good science. Or they could just invest in better facilities and make their players stronger and better than others and get the best scouting and analytics department money can buy. That seems easy though. Stupid is more fun though.