The Cleveland Indians decided to bring back Danny Salazar for the 2019 season, and his deal is not exactly cheap for a team looking to cut payroll.
The move was seemingly done to cut $7 million from the payroll, but money was also handed out by the Indians on Friday as contracts had to be tendered to those eligible for arbitration.
The deal that stood out to me was the one between the Indians and Danny Salazar.
That $4.5 million contract comes after Salazar didn’t appear in a single game in 2018. He has been missing time with injuries during this competitive run by the Indians, as 2015 was his last full season of work.
Clearly the team is confident that Salazar can play in 2019. But it appears right now that his role would be in the bullpen unless a major trade is made involving one of the starting pitchers.
We all know that Salazar can be great when healthy. Specifically as a starter. Pitching out of the bullpen is something he has done sparingly and my hope is that the Indians didn’t blindly commit this money to him when it could have been spent on other, cheaper relievers.
It is hard for fans to grade this decision right now because of the unknowns surrounding Salazar. But if moves are made to continue cutting salary, the money committed to Salazar will stand out if he barely plays in 2019.
It is entirely possible that Salazar returns to his old form and is a reliable player for the Indians for years to come. We just need to see it first to believe it.