The idea that the Cleveland baseball team was not seeking to rebuild has always been a farce.
Sure, we bought it the last couple of years because the team was still technically in contention, but narrowly missing the playoffs in 2019 and last year’s flameout — all while the payroll declined year over year — have laid bare the truth of the matter. The team is in full-on rebuild mode now and has been laying the foundation for the rebuild for a while now.
So, coming into 2021 Cleveland was at a crossroads: Keep up the ruse that the team could reload with youth and perpetually contend, or drop the pretense and blow it up.
We got our answer on Thursday, as the team cravenly finished a deal (that certainly has been discussed for days and weeks prior) while one of the worst days in recent American history dominated the headlines. The Cleveland baseball team parted not just with Francisco Lindor, but also with Carlos Carrasco, and they did it in a news dump, trying to catch us unaware.
We’ve all been expecting Lindor to depart, but to send Carrasco out — a man who gave the team a hometown discount because he loved the organization and the city — is just a salary dump with zero regard for anything but the bottom line. A few weeks back I was crass about Cleveland’s plan for 2021, but never did I expect the team would actually try to part ways with anyone making any money.
Well, here we are:
After shedding Lindor and Carrasco, Cleveland has just five players in line to make a $1m+ in 2021. Will likely open with a Tampa- and Oakland-like payroll https://t.co/eReUFJ5ZFU— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) January 7, 2021
The Dolans are running the Cleveland baseball team as a hedge fund. Plain and simple. They do not care about our affection for the players. They only care that the players can make the ownership group as much profit as possible. If the opportunity to maximize profit comes from sending a player to another team, whether that player recovered from leukemia and hustled to return to the team he loved or not, then they will take advantage of that opportunity.
If the owners think that we’re just here to cheer for laundry, then it’s up to fans to show them they’re wrong. I don’t know that anyone will agree with me, I’m certain everyone will not, but I firmly believe that this is a line in the sand and that I will not be supporting this ownership group. No tickets. No merchandise. No 50-50s or virtual 5Ks or whatever other bullshit they try to peddle over social media to pad their bottom line.
If they want to show that they care about the fans again, I’ll likely be back. It’s hard for me to say I will stop caring about the Cleveland franchise in total. But I’d prefer not to have my affection rewarded with active hostility.