Payroll is a never-ending subject of conversation with the Indians. For a portion of the fanbase, the size of the payroll indicates how badly the team wants to win, and therefore whether the team is worth following. I don't think the payroll is necessary a proxy for competitiveness, as good players can make the minimum, and bad players a lot of money, but there's no doubt that a higher payroll is an advantage in that you lower your risk if a player doesn't work out.
Anyway, the Tribe payroll will probably end up in the $80M range, about the same as last year, which of course raises the question as to why it didn't increase because each team received $25M as part of the new TV deal. Hoynes' answer was that that money was spent last year in signing Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. In other words, the Indians spent the money before they even got it. By jumping into the free agent market a year early, the Indians probably got more for their money, as there were fewer dollars available in the market last year. Because the supply of free agents didn't increase, the TV revenue money has created an inflationary effect in salaries, as evidenced by some of the deals signed this winter.
Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times looks at a dynasty that should have been: the late-1910s/early 1920s Indians. The Indians finished in second place from 1918, 1919, and 1921, winning the pennant just one time. Jaffe takes a look at why the Indians missed out those other years.
AL Central News
The Tigers lost one-third of their typical lineup this offseason (Prince Fielder, Jhonny Peralta, and Omar Infante), and will be essentially replacing them with Ian Kinsler, Jose Iglesias, and Nick Castellanos. Assuming Miguel Cabrera moves from third to first, these changes should make the Tigers a much better defensive club, but they probably won't be quite as good at the plate.
Mike Moustakas has yet to really deliver on his enormous potential, but he's been hitting well in the Venezuela Winter League.
No, Mark Reynolds isn't playing center field (that would be hilarious), but the Twins are contemplating signing him. He would be a bench player for the Twins, backing up Trevor Plouffe at third and Joe Mauer at first.
Other MLB News
Puig was driving 110 mph in Alligator Alley the stretch of I-75 that crosses the Everglades. He was going 40 miles over the speed limit, which meant an arrest and some time in jail. This is the second time that Puig was arrested for reckless driving this year.