We are just two years removed from the Cleveland Indians having a 3-1 lead in the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs, and just about a month removed from experts pegging the Tribe to topple the Astros, Yankees, and Red Sox in the AL playoff field.
We all know what happened after that, but one would think being one win away from a World Series championship would draw fans to Progressive Field, and the last thing we expected was for them to become "sellers" in 2018's offseason.
Well...think again. Since 2016, the Indians payroll has exceeded $100 million, yet they still rank well into the bottom half of the MLB in terms of attendance. Hence, they're still not ready to stay all-in, and are listening to trade offers for their star players. After all, a winning team and big spending didn't lead to the proper crowd boost; so what will?
Indians' payroll/attendance ranking— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 3, 2018
In short: Increased spending dramatically; won a lot of games and reached postseason/WS; didn't get much of a bump in attendance.
It's important to note, howeever, that the Indians are not in a fire sale. They won't be trading Francisco Lindor or Jose Ramirez. as they look to remain the clear-cut favorites in the uninspiring AL Central again in 2019.
Yes, the Indians will listen to trade offers for Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, etc., but two things to remember:— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 3, 2018
1. They aren't trading all of them, and they aren't trading Lindor or Ramirez
2. No matter who they trade, they will enter 2019 as prohibitive favorites in AL Central
With Lindor, Ramirez and others due for raises in the near future, the Indians are simply willing to move some salary in the right deals.
But it is telling that the incredibly-strong roster, full of homegrown talents, still isn't doing enough for the city's fan base.