CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Have you noticed the change? If you are paying attention to what the Indians have done and are doing to put together one of the best teams in baseball, you certainly have noticed.
The Indians are spending money. They sit right around the midpoint of the league in total payroll.
Big deal? Yes, yes it is especially, when you consider the payroll, according to some estimates, has jumped over 44 percent from last year, when the Tribe had one of the lowest payrolls in the league.
"I think they've done a great job building up the team and the program, and I think we have a lot of great players to look forward to," says Tribe fan Kirsten Gillespie.
Gillespie is actually praising Tribe owner Paul Dolan and that's something that hasn't happened much, if at all, since his dad Larry Dolan bought the team 17 years ago. The Dolans have been accused, by some, of not spending the cash to build a winner.
Brant Apple has been a Tribe fan since before the Dolan family bought the team. "Some of the criticism has been fair in the past but you have to give them credit when they saw the opportunity, they went for it and they didn't hold the team back."
It was Paul Dolan who approved the late season trade for Andrew Miller and the payroll upgrade that went with bringing Miller to Cleveland. Without Miller, you could make the case that the Indians never get to the World Series, and Dolan approved that trade in the middle of first place despite a disappointing attendance year for the Tribe.
The Dolans kept pumping out the cash in the off-season. Edwin Encarnacion and Boone Logan were big time free agent signings, the kind of signings Indian fans were not used to seeing the franchise pull off.
So after 17 years Indians fans may finally be warming up to the Dolan ownership. "I think they are definitely taking their chances and offering contract extensions, paying guys like Jose Ramirez right away, kind of doing what they did in the 90's," said Tribe fan Justin Szucs.