Spring Training isn’t even underway, but the Indians have already announced a bit of tough news for fans, revealing Friday that star shortstop Francisco Lindor suffered a right calf strain in prepping for camp. Per the team’s announcement, Lindor will be ready to return to “Major League game activity” in seven to nine weeks. Seven weeks would put Lindor on track to be ready for the beginning of the regular season, though if his rehab takes closer to the longer end of that timetable, he’d miss the first couple of weeks of the year.
If Lindor is to miss time early on, the Indians can turn to one of Max Moroff or Yu Chang as a short-term stopgap. While the short-term nature of Lindor’s injury doesn’t necessarily force Cleveland into making a major addition. However, looking at the current assortment of bench options, the argument could already be made that the team is in need of some additional infield depth. At the very least, adding a player such as Adeiny Hechavarria, Alcides Escobar or Jose Iglesias in a reserve role now seems a bit more prudent than it already did, especially given the possibility for lingering effects that are inherent to any injury.
Even missing out on Lindor for a couple of weeks could prove quite detrimental for the Indians, given that the level of payroll approved by ownership forced the front office into a series of moves that have actively weakened the roster. Meanwhile, both the Twins and White Sox have made some improvements, with the latter still actively pursuing some big-name upgrades.
Lindor, one of the game’s most dynamic players, turned in a brilliant .277/.352/.519 slash with 38 homers and 25 steals en route to a sixth-place finish in American League MVP voting. Paired with his defense at shortstop, Lindor was worth nearly eight wins above replacement. The 25-year-old paced the Majors in plate appearances and runs scored, though it’s now decidedly less likely that he’ll be able to replicate either feat.