Indians owner Paul Dolan discussed several noteworthy topics regarding the team with the Akron Roundtable on Thursday, fielding questions from Amanda Rabinowitz of WKSU and a virtual audience, per Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com (links: 1, 2). Here are some of the issues Dolan touched on during the Q&A…
- The Indians are going to change their name, but the move may take longer than expected. While Dolan wants this to be the franchise’s final season with its current name, “It could be sometime in the middle of this year whether we know we’ve got it down where we can do it for 2022,” he said. “If not we’d have to push it to 2023. We’re working hard to get it done by then, but there’s no certainty in that.” Dolan added: “There aren’t many words in the English language that somebody doesn’t own in some shape or form. Particularly in the sports realm, that’s a real challenge.”
- Dolan also addressed Cleveland’s decision to trade its most recognizable player, shortstop Francisco Lindor, to the Mets during the winter. “We could afford a player like Lindor. We just couldn’t afford to build a team around him,” stated Dolan, who pointed out that it’s difficult for a small-market team to dedicate so much payroll to one player. It was no surprise the Indians dealt Lindor, as Dolan all but admitted in 2019 they’d eventually trade the four-time All-Star when he told the team’s fans to “enjoy him” while he was still on the roster. Lindor is down to his last year of team control, in which he’ll earn $22.3MM, and could score a $300MM-plus contract by the 2022 campaign. With Lindor gone, the Indians are projected to open 2021 with a paltry $53MM payroll, Jason Martinez of Roster Resource estimates.
- Terry Francona dealt with health problems last season and only managed 14 games as a result, but Dolan gave the 61-year-old a major of confidence Thursday. “I think he’s with us until he’s no longer managing,” Dolan declared. “He’s under contract for a couple more years (through 2022), but I feel like we’re now in a situation where he’s going to be here until he decides not to manage.” Francona, who previously won two World Series with the Red Sox, took over the Indians in 2013 and has helped them to a 673-519 regular-season mark with five playoff appearances and an American League pennant.