The Indians are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series.
Eligible For Free Agency (4)
- The signings of free agents Austin Kearns, Orlando Cabrera, Chad Durbin, Adam Everett to one-year deals pretty much represent Chris Antonetti's first offseason as GM. It's too early to say whether these veterans will have trade value or be worthy of re-signing or an arbitration offer. One thing we can say is that the 2012 Indians aren't faced with any major losses.
Contract Options (2)
- Grady Sizemore: $9MM club option with a $500K buyout. Sizemore's option, devised over five years ago, makes him most valuable to the Indians. He gets a $500K assignment bonus if traded, plus it appears that his 2012 salary might increase to $9.9MM. More importantly, the club option changes to a player one if he's dealt, so a team can't acquire Sizemore with his 2012 season in mind. Yesterday was a promising season debut for Sizemore, and if he has a vintage year and the team stays in contention he could remain with the Tribe for 2012.
- Fausto Carmona: $7MM club option, arbitration eligible if declined. Though it's technically possible, I can't see the Indians declining the option and tendering Carmona a contract, since he'd make more than $7MM that way. If he provides 200 credible innings again this will be an easy decision to pick up, and the team also has options for '13 and '14.
Arbitration Eligible (10)
- First time: Justin Masterson, Travis Buck, Jack Hannahan, Tony Sipp, Justin Germano
- Second time: Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Perez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Joe Smith
- Third time: Rafael Perez
A few players here will fall short of the necessary service time. Sipp projects to be eight days short of the projected Super Two cutoff, but you never know. Masterson, Choo, Perez, and Cabrera are the big ones here, as they'll all be much more expensive next year.
2012 Payroll Obligation
The Indians have a payroll obligation of $13MM for 2012, according to Cot's, with Travis Hafner accounting for all of it. Under a scenario where the Indians aren't selling off pieces in July and both players are reasonably effective, we can add another $16MM for Sizemore and Carmona. I'll estimate another $20MM for the aforementioned four big arbitration eligible names, putting the team at $49MM. That's the exact number Cot's has for the 2011 payroll, but of course there are additional arbitration eligible players, and even those making the league minimum account for millions in total. Though their season is not even 10% done, it'd be exciting to see the Indians contend all year and then make an offseason push for a few significant veteran reinforcements.