Cleveland Indians Payroll In 2014 + Contracts Going Forward

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org Depth + Payroll Expert – find his website here)

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The Indians were big players in the 2012 offseason – heading into the 2013 year.

The club stepped up and signed 1B/OF Nick Swisher to a 5 YRs/$70 MIL deal – and inked OF Michael Bourn to a 4 YR contract worth $48 MIL.

Indians Management also took a risk on SP Scott Kazmir.

But perhaps their best acquisition in the 2012 winter was picking up Terry Francona as their new bench boss.


Cleveland nailed down a Wild Card Berth by winning 10 games straight to seal the deal.  While they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in a one game showdown, it was still a fantastic campaign.

After the year ended, the baseball gods haven’t been as kind.  Kazmir inked a 2 YR deal worth $22 MIL from the A’s based on his 2013 performance, and Ubaldo Jimenez will receive a 4 Year Deal from the O’s – to a tune of $50 MIL.

This franchise couldn’t afford to bring these veterans back.  Cleveland is a mid-market team with fledgling attendance issues from year to year.

It is really a shame that the organization that pioneered the model for signing your own talent, have not been able to keep players in the fold for big durations of their career.

This team has lost CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee in recent years, while also paving the road for departures for guys like Shin-Soo Choo and Victor Martinez via trade route – because they couldn’t afford their services.

The latest player the squad will likely see moving in Justin Masterson (dealt for V-Mart) – who is in the last year of a contract, and will be one of the best Free Agent Starting Pitchers available in the 2015 market.

While the fanbase may be unhappy at the lack of movement of this years team in terms of Free Agent beef-ups, their is still room for optimism in going forward.

The club doesn’t have any money invested on their Starting Rotation, yet they feature extremely strong young talent in phenom Danny Salazar – and Corey Kluber made great strides in 2013.

Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and Zach McAllister are also penciled on the current Starting Staff.

Aaron Harang could also make the squad in 2014, only carrying a $1 MIL salary.

John Axford (1 YR/$4.5 MIL) and OF David Murphy (2 YRs/$12 MIL) were the teams big FA guys brought in.

The club also recently extended Michael Brantley to a 4 YRs pact worth $25 MIL.

This team also has Asdrubal Cabrera on a walk year – doling out more than $10 MIL for his services. I highly expect the 28 year old to be dealt.

The organization has a plethora of replacement players for the position in Mike Aviles, Ryan Raburn – and Carlos Santana has been converted into Utility Infielder – that could  keep playing some 3B/1B/C and DH this year as well.

When you add Lonnie Chisenhal into the mix, and the team has options should they try and trade their 2 time ALL- Star Starting Shortstop.

Cleveland may keep Cabrera for a part of the year, but if they are not in solid contention as they sit right now, you can’t sit on the asset.  It could be the case for Masterson too.

Both of these players could be used in a blockbuster trade tor younger reinforcement netted back in return, but both of them have to play much better .  This club has been up and down, but a recent losing streak of 6 games has them buried by the Tigers in the AL Central in 2014.

With Masterson probably being in the low teens for Millions in his deal this year for Arbitration, the Indians are in the $80 MIL range for team payroll this season.

Even with the National TV dollars coming in, it will be tough justifying any big salary bumps when you did not draw 20K fans per game during last year’s playoff campaign.

The good news is that this team could rebuild very quickly – with only $59 -$61 MIL on the books for next season.

Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro may be able to re-sign Masterson based on this total, or at least maybe sign 1 or 2 players in his place.

The club does have about ten guys that are Arbitration Eligible, however they should be actively pursuing a way to sign some other core guys like they have with Michael Brantley,  Jason Kipnis  6 Years/$52 MIL with a Team Option for 2020) – much in the same fashion they also did with Yan Gomes (6 YRs/$23 MIL with Team Options of 2020 and 2021 for $9 and $11 MIL respectively.

They could try to sign pitchers Bauer, Kluber, and Salazar long term to mesh with the rest of the youngsters signed – albeit risking money on pitching is way trickier.

Contract Outlook From 2014 – 2016

Indians Pitchers,
Pos Player EXP AGE 2014 SALARY 2015 SALARY 2016 SALARY
SP1- Justin Masterson, 3 28 ARB3 FA
SP2- Zach McAllister, 5 26 NON-ARB3 ARB1 ARB2
SP3- Corey Kluber, 4 27 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3 ARB1
SP4- Carlos Carrasco, 7 27 NON-ARB3 ARB1 ARB2
SP5- Danny Salazar, 4 23 NON-ARB1 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3
SP6- Josh Tomlin, 5 29 $800,000 ARB2 ARB3
SP 7 Trevor Bauer  0  23  $1, 133, 333  NON ARB 2  NON ARB 3
RHSU- Cody Allen, 0 25 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3 ARB1
RHSU- Bryan Shaw, 3 27 NON-ARB3 ARB1 ARB2
RHSU- Blake Wood, 5 29 $560,000 ARB2 ARB3
LHSU- Nick Hagadone, 4 27 NON-ARB3 ARB1 ARB2
LHSU- Marc Rzepczynski, 4 28 $1,375,000 ARB2 ARB3
LHSU- Josh Outman, 4 29 $1,250,000 ARB3 FA
CL- Preston Guilmet, 2 26 NON-ARB1 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3
CL- Frank Herrmann, 5 29 $560,000 ARB2 ARB3
CL- Vinnie Pestano, 4 28 $975,000 ARB2 ARB3
CL- John Axford, 4 30 $4,500,000 ARB2 ARB3
Indians Position Players, EXP AGE 2014 SALARY 2015 SALARY 2016 SALARY
C- Carlos Santana, 6 27 $3,500,000 $6,000,000 $8,450,000
1B- Nick Swisher, 2 32 $15,000,000 $15,000,000 $15,000,000
2B- Jason Kipnis, 2 26 $2, 170, 000 $4, 166, 666 $6, 166, 667
SS- Asdrubal Cabrera 5 28 $10,000,000 FA
3B- Lonnie Chisenhall, 3 25 NON-ARB3 ARB1 ARB2
LF- Michael Brantley, 6 26 $1,500,000 $5,000,000 $6,500,000
CF- Michael Bourn, 3 31 $13,500,000 $13,500,000 $14,000,000
RF- David Murphy, 5 32 $5,500,000 $6,000,000 $7,000,000
DH-  Jason Giambi  18  43  $1, 100, 000  FA
 C  George Kottaras  4  30  $1, 008, 000  ARB 3  FA
C- Yan Gomes, 2 26 $513, 000 $1, 000, 000 $2, 500, 000
OF  Nyjer Morgan  7  33  Not Yet Updated
3B- Ryan Raburn, 7 32 $2,250,000 $2,500,000 $3,000,000
3B- Mike Aviles, 6 32 $3,000,000 $3,500,000
UTL- Jose Ramirez, 1 21 NON-ARB1 NON-ARB2 NON-ARB3
UTL- Elliot Johnson  3  30  $930, 000, 000  ARB 2  ARB 3
Total Budget 2014 2015 2016
69270000 59500000 59950000

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Indians Organization year round click here.

Justin  Masterson was 14 - 10, with a 3.45 ERA last year.  He has also authored an AL leading 3 Shutouts - and anchored a much improved Starting Staff.  With losing veterans Kazmir and Jimenez from the 2013 team,   All 5 Pitchers are now under the age of 30.

Justin Masterson was 14 – 10, with a 3.45 ERA last year. He also authored an AL leading 3 Shutouts – and anchored a much improved Starting Staff. With losing veterans Kazmir and Jimenez from the 2013 team, All 5  Starting Pitchers are now under the age of 30.  If Masterson puts forth another great year in 2014 – he will be among the best Starting Pitchers on the open market in 2015.  Will the Indians be able to extend him long term, but more importantly, will they trade the 28 Year Old in 2014 – and particularly if they fade from contention by the middle of summer?  This year he hasn’t enjoyed as much success, carrying a record of 1 – 1 , with a respectable 4.01 ERA in 7 Game Starts and 42.2 IP so far.

Other Authors for this post:

Jeff Kleiner:  “I have been a sports fan since the first Baseball game I went to at Comisky Park in Chicago in 1959, when baseball for me turned from black and white to color.

I have attended or watched thousands of games, always paying attention to statistics, rosters and salaries of all professional sports.

Luckily I had the advantage of watching WGN TV and seeing hundreds of games in the 60’s. Collecting Baseball Cards and then later dealing them gave me an extra sense of the sport, both good and bad.”

For all of your Salaries, Roster and Depth Charts for all 4 Major Sports (entire organization – Minors and Majors) click here or Follow Me on twitter 

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Chuck Booth was visited by the Indians President Mark Shapiro during his trip to Progressive Field in 2012 as part of his World Record Streak.

Chuck Booth was visited by the Indians President Mark Shapiro during his trip to Progressive Field in 2012 as part of his World Record Streak.


About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at

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