Cleveland Indians fans are not exactly thrilled with the organization’s owners this year.
The Dolan family has cut spending and the trade of Francisco Lindor may have pushed some fans past the point of ever possibly liking the owners.
But this is, unfortunately, something fans cannot control.
The Dolans can do what they want with the Indians and barring the introduction of a salary floor, spending can stay low forever.
The spending is obviously a huge issue.
But other questions remain as well concerning the future of the franchise.
Three questions in particular stand out.
3. What Will the Team be Called?
The Indians are going to change their name soon.
That is a fact.
But will ownership go through with it following the 2021 season?
The organization has asked fans to provide input and so far names like the Spiders, Guardians, and Buckeyes stand out.
Going with “Cleveland Baseball Team” is funny, but just not going to happen in today’s world of branding and merchandise sales.
Making a decision sooner than later allows the organization to build excitement around the change.
It also begins the process of people complaining, but that will die down with time.
There is no need to linger too long on this decision.
2. Is There Money to Extend the Ace?
The clock is now ticking on a Shane Bieber extension.
#Indians ace Shane Bieber said he would absolutely be open to a contract extension with the Tribe. But said those conversations haven't taken place…yet.
— Nick Camino (@NickCaminoWKYC) February 22, 2021
Bieber is under team control through the 2024 season.
But he is set to begin arbitration in 2022 and that means his annual cost is going to shoot up for three years.
Signing him to an extension provides a sure number every year and also keeps him around for several more years of his prime.
Extending Bieber is an obvious move to make.
But will Indians ownership agree to pay him well over $100 million?
That is the question that comes up with any star player on this team.
If money were no issue the front office may have already signed the ace by now.
The Dolans need to figure out how much they are willing to spend.
If they will pay up then signing Bieber soon should be a top priority.
The longer they wait, the higher the price tag will soar.
1. Could a Rebuild Begin in 2021?
There is the possibility the Indians approach the trade deadline with a losing record.
Becoming sellers could mean a small trade is made, or that every valuable veteran is traded away to begin a true rebuild.
Chris Antonetti, on any chance the team might trade José Ramírez: “I have every expectation that José will be our starting shortstop on Opening Day.”
“I misspoke. Sorry, third baseman. I’m used to saying the last one.”
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) February 4, 2021
Trading Ramirez would be the true sign of a new era being ushered in.
This is a worst-case scenario for fans, but may be a plan ownership has if the goal is to keep spending low for a few years.
Winning solves all and hopefully the team comes together and brushes aside any talk of a reset this season.