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Indians' financial losses will be 'extraordinary' in short season

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Cleveland Indians president Chris Antonetti said he expected the team's financial losses to be "extraordinary" in 2020.

With a season shortened to 60 games and no sign that fans will be allowed in the stands anytime soon, the 2020 MLB season will likely cause financial issues for most -- if not all -- of the league's teams.

At least as far as the Cleveland Indians are concerned, they're more than certain that will be the case, although team president Chris Antonetti doesn't anticipate those monetary losses to impact his roster decisions.

"Our financial losses will be extraordinary this year," Antonetti said. "But I don't expect we'll have any short-term decisions that will be impacted by finances."

According to Forbes, the Indians ranked 16th in baseball last season with an operating income of $43 million. Baseball teams aren't required to publically share their finances, leaving at least some question as to how much money the Indians make -- or lose -- in a given year.

What is public knowledge, however, is that the Indians' payroll has decreased in each season since 2017, with the team previously set to enter the 2020 campaign with a payroll of around $90 million after carrying a $107 million payroll in 2019. Even with salaries prorated on a per game basis, the Indians figure to suffer from a loss of revenue via ticket, concession and merchandise sales.

As a result, some have speculated that the Indians could be one of the teams most motivated to shed salary, especially with Francisco Lindor set to hit free agency following the 2021 season. But according to Antonetti, the team is still taking a long-term view and doesn't believe the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected its plans for its All-Star shortstop.

"I'm not sure that it has," Antonetti answered when asked how the last few months have affected the team's stance on trading or keeping Lindor. "We're excited to actually get Frankie back on the field with all of our other players and have a 2020 season and get started. I think that's solely where we're focused."

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