Earlier this spring, the Indians were able to avoid arbitration with four-time All-Star Francisco Lindor. This meant that Lindor was going to make $17 million for the next two years. After all the rumors that were going around before Spring Training started, the Indians Front Office did not trade him. We will look at what impact this will have on this year’s team, as well as Lindor’s potential future with another team.
Lindor is the Face of the Indians
The four-time All-Star, who is also referred to as Mr. Smile, has made a name for his charismatic personality and his love of the game. It doesn’t hurt that he is becoming one of the best ballplayers in the Major Leagues. He is only 26 and coming into his prime. The 2019 season started off slow for Lindor, as he opened up on the DL with an injury during Spring Training. Even with the slow start, he still posted a .854 OPS, had 32 home runs, and stole 22 bases. Lindor is able to do all this from the lead-off spot the past two seasons.
Francisco Lindor has become one of the young faces of Major League Baseball. He is one of the top three shortstops in the game and everyone knows him. Even though the Indians are filled with young talent and a very good pitching staff, Lindor is the emotional leader of this club. It will be a hard pill to swallow for Indians fans if Lindor is dealt during the 2020 season. This is all because the Indians and Lindor could not come to an agreement on a contract extension.
Dolan Not Opening up the Wallet
Cleveland Indians owner Larry Dolan has been cutting back payroll for the past few years. He is saying that the team is losing money and not being profitable. Most of us Cleveland fans do not believe this, especially since the Indians just hosted the All-Star Game this past year and it was flawless. The Indians not only have a loyal fanbase, but you could say that when they do $1 dog nights and fireworks, those games are sold out every Friday night. They are also one of the Top 10 highest-rated TV markets in the MLB. So, the money Dolan is making off the TV contract from FOX Sports should be no chump change.
With this lack of spending, this is why Corey Kluber was shipped off to Texas in a trade before Spring Training. It was initially why they lost Carlos Santana to the Philadelphia Phillies a couple years ago in free agency. This is why they’re probably going to lose Lindor at some point this year. Once the MLB season gets started up after the COVID-19 epidemic, we’ll see what happens. Unfortunately, I believe Lindor will be dealt before the trade deadline this year, as they will get the best value for him. This will be another damaging blow to the fanbase as we see another one of our best players not staying with the Indians.
Lindor Spoke About Staying
After the reports surfaced that the two sides did not come to an agreement, Lindor offered what would make sense for both sides. Lindor said, if they would take payroll up to $120 million, then they could make his contract work and still keep the talent they have on the roster. The Indians’ payroll for the 2020 season is at $84 million. The league average for payroll is $131 million. At the suggested number for payroll that Lindor gives, this still doesn’t even put the Indians at the league minimum. Lindor is making $17 million this year, which is not that far away from the past two contracts signed.
What is crazy about this number is the talent on this roster. This team just missed the playoffs last year with 93 wins. Injuries will be the main reason to stop them this year. Why won’t Dolan spend the money it takes to keep one of the top-10 talents in the Major Leagues? Cleveland fans do not get this, as they do support this team in the summer months. The beginning of the year always starts slow because of the weather. Lindor should be up in the range of Mike Trout and Christian Yelich. Trout signed a 12-year deal worth $426.5 million just last year. Yelich just signed his contract about a week ago and it was 9 years for $215 million. Mike Trout will make a little over $35 million per year and Yelich is around $26 million.
What Does This Mean for the Fans
If the Indians do trade Lindor, the faithful fans of the Indians will be very hurt. We love “Frankie”. If he gets traded this year, I’m not sure Dolan is going to want to listen to much talk radio afterwards. Unfortunately, the Indians players will survive and move forward. Luckily, the farm system and the talent coming up is always some of the best in the league. The haul for Lindor would be huge for whoever wants him. It was speculated before the season, that the Dodgers were trying to get him. The latest news coming out after the deal didn’t get done, was that the Padres were very interested in getting Frankie.
We will obviously have to see what happens as the trade deadline approaches later this season. We just have to get the season started and be over with this COVID-19 situation. As an Indians fan my whole life, I can only hope that Dolan reconsiders his stance with Lindor and pay this kid to keep him in Cleveland. We need him on this team to stay competitive, especially since the White Sox and Twins spent a lot of money this past offseason.
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