The Indians town hall meeting was earlier today and the front office was there to answer questions from fans. I’m assuming that Dolan said nothing that offered any hope at all. On the other hand, Manny Acta and Chris Antoinetti most likely had a positive outlook on this season. As I recall from last years town hall meeting, Dolan was very excited about the new sushi option at the ballpark. This is the guy who runs a multi-million dollar company.
I know many questions that I could have asked the team, but I am most curious about the answer to one. Would it be smart to sign a veteran who used to play for the Tribe such Manny or Jim Thome?
The attendance at Progressive Field was historically low last year, (which is surprising because everyone loves eating sushi at a baseball game). There are many young players on the team and in the organization that offer hope, but are not drawing masses as of now. Besides the opener, the most attended games in Cleveland were because of the opposing team. Stephen Strasburg’s first start on the road and A-Rod’s chase for 600 drew many fans to the stadium. This fact should be embarrassing to the front office and inspire them to look for a way to fill the seats.
The Rays have a similar attendance problem so they decided to make a change. Since winning is not enough for the senior citizen population of St. Pete, the Rays added both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. Damon is eligible for about 750K in attendance bonuses. He will get paid if people simply come to the games.
I do not see how signing one fan favorite would hurt the team’s “plans”. Sign the player to a one or two year contract worth no more than a few million, and put them at DH for most of the year. Hafner gets paid way too much and not many fans really enjoy his presence anymore.
The Indians front office would likely say that a veteran would hurt their rebuilding process. A player like Jim Thome would not cause trouble in the clubhouse if he did not start every game. He would mentor younger players such as Matt LaPorta and contribute to the jobs of the coaches.
Unfortunately for my vision, Thome and Ramirez were signed by the Twins and Rays respectively. Another former Indian, Bartolo Colon, was recently signed by the Yankees, but signing him would just be stupid. But with Dolan in charge, anything could happen.