The Indians are in deep financial trouble

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The Akron Beacon-Journal reports that the Cleveland Indians are on pace to draw around 1.16 million people this year. The problem: The Indians’ front office made a budget that assumed attendance of
1.5 million.

Which was actually a conservative assumption, as the team drew 1.766 million last year.  A year that was profoundly disappointing and saw the team sell off two if its marquee players — Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez — in mid-season. I’m no economic expert, but assuming a 250K drop in gate was probably pretty smart. But obviously it’s been way worse than that, and the Indians look poised to finish in the red for a second year in row.  ”Even with revenue sharing, we won’t break even,” said the team’s V.P. of business operations.

Last year the Tribe  dumped salary to try and minimize the losses. Such a move will be much harder this year as two of the biggest contracts — Travis Hafner and Kerry Wood — look to be all but untradeable right now.  Grady Sizemore is hurt, but even then, he’s only owed a reasonable $5.6 million this year (though taking the $16.5 million total he’s owed for 2011 and 2012, buyout included, off the books could help). Jake Westbrook is owed $10 million or so. He might be moveable.

But that’s just working around the edges.  No matter what happens, it appears that Cleveland is going to continue to hemorrhage money for the time being.

Angels sign Kole Calhoun to three-year, $26 million extension

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Kole Calhoun #56 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs to first base during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 26, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.

Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).

The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.

Bryce Harper lobbies for Matt Wieters and Greg Holland

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a single in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.

As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:

Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!

Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:

I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.