In an interview with 850AM WKNR, Cleveland Indians team president Mark Shapiro discussed the future of several key individuals within the organization, including chairman and chief executive officer Paul Dolan.
With a bevy of players signing one-year, arbitration-avoiding contracts, the Indians have recently been viewed as a team ripe for the having due to perceived financial flexibility and a payroll that is among the lowest in the league. In response to any allegations toward Dolan and his brother Paul putting the team up for sale, Shapiro stated that this was not the case, but that the father-son pairing do in fact listen to offers.
“[The contracts mean] nothing,” said Shapiro. “I mean, just that the club is not actively being sold or marketed. I think Paul’s been consistent in what he’s said all along – that their always willing to listen should someone come along, but you know, the contracts – what I can tell you definitively is that the contract strategy with the club has nothing to do with the ownership status or situation.”
Two members of the notorious one-year-deal club are fan favorites and budding stars in shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. With specific regard to Choo, Shapiro states that the team has made multiple, long-term offers in seasons past, but did not venture down the same path this past off-season, one which followed what would be considered a disappointment across the board following charges of driving under the influence, a slow start and a campaign ended by injury.
“I can say that we’ve made large offers to him, in the past – we have not made one this year,” said Shapiro. “We’ve made large, multi-year offers to him. And so, you know, again, there’s a consistent track record there. We don’t usually report offers we make. But trust me, on most guys we’ve made offers to – some guys engage and some guys don’t.”
The tune on Cabrera, however, is a bit different.
“You know, I’m not sure [about Cabrera’s future in Cleveland],” Shapiro said. “Again, it’s not something where we – I can promise you we have engaged at least in some conversation about multi-year deals. I think I see it this way, we have him for at least two years. He’s an outstanding hitter and solid shortstop.”
The team’s president continues to sympathize with those who are frustrated by the economics of the game, reiterating that there are essentially four or five franchises who have the consistent ability to retain their free agents. Focusing on nostalgia and the memories created every evening, the “connecting generations” tagline is alive and well despite Opening Day still being just over two weeks away.
And in the event that Cabrera, despite being under club control for this season and next, is the next name on the list of those who leave Cleveland in their mid-20s, Shapiro offers the shortstop in waiting: Francisco Lindor.
“[Lindor’s] got the actions right now,” said Shapiro. “He’s got the love of the game. He’s a first-round draft pick. He’s what you want those guys to be, he gives you something to dream about. […] I’ve said this to all our minor league guys, the best players make decisions for us so if this kid is as good as we think he is, he’s going to be moving himself through our system pretty quickly.”