Indians have cut costs during hard times

Updated: February 6, 2009, 5:14 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- As spring training approaches, Cleveland Indians general manager Mark Shapiro is looking at how fast tickets are selling.

"Our sales right now are very much in flux," Shapiro said Friday. "We are hopeful they will pick up as we get closer to spring training and the reality of a new baseball season is upon us. But there is a sense of caution and an understanding of what this could mean if it continues."

Cleveland signed closer Kerry Wood to a $20.5 million, two-year deal. Shapiro said he does not regret spending that money in December rather than waiting to see whether prices would go down.

"We were fortunate to be one of the teams that had some flexibility this offseason," Shapiro said. "We discussed waiting, but at the time we made the deal in mid-December we thought it was the best option for improving our team."

Shapiro said that for the most part, agents and available players have come to the realize that clubs cannot spend as freely as they did even a few months ago. He rejects any accusation that collusion is going on.

"Most agents I have spoken with personally understand what is going on and how it affects not just a club's ability to spend but their thresholds and structures for spending," he said. "There are some anonymous agents who feel a need to say that what is going on in the world is not going on and there's some other unnatural element out there that is controlling costs. Quite frankly, I am at a lack of understanding and a lack of sympathy for them."

Shapiro said the Indians have not had any layoffs, but have cut costs.

"I would hope [fans] will not see any of those things," Shapiro said. "These ways of controlling costs are only initial measures."

Shapiro hopes more cuts are not contemplated at this point.

"A lot of times in sports we operate in a vacuum, where we are somewhat limited in how we are impacted," he said. "One of the real dangers is the length of how this impacts us as this season plays out and going into next season. It is up to the individual clubs. While we have clearly dealt with adversity in Cleveland prior to this, what is going on nationally and internationally takes it to another level."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press