In a lengthy piece for The Athletic, Zack Meisel charts the different courses the Indians could take with regard to the contract status of star shortstop Francisco Lindor (link). As Meisel takes pains to point out, Lindor has taken a chilly posture to the idea that he would offer his club a discount in potential extension talks. Besides speaking vocally in support of 2018 free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper securing “every single penny that they can get“, Lindor was blunt in stating during the 2019 preseason that Cleveland would need to pay him full value if the club is interested in preventing him from reaching free agency after the 2021 season. “Who knows?” Lindor replied to a gathering of reporters during Spring Training when asked if a longterm extension would interest him. “Can you afford to pay me? If you pay me, I’ll stay.” Noting that the Indians have never signed a contract north of $60MM (Edwin Encarnacion in 2016), Meisel wonders if the time may be ripe for the club to consider trade options involving the 25-year-old shortstop.
While the writer ultimately seems to lean toward the idea of keeping Lindor, allowing him to play out his last two arb years, and then living with the possibility that he leaves in 2022, it is tantalizing to imagine the interest Lindor’s name could stir up on the trade market. As a mid-20s, up-the-middle player with five consecutive seasons of four-plus fWAR valuations, Lindor remains one of the game’s steadiest producers and most marketable stars.
More notes from around the American League in advance of Game 2 of the World Series…
- In an attempt to rid themselves of the current legal quagmire surrounding their new ballpark project, the Athletics have offered to either buy out the city of Oakland’s half share in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum site for $85 million or enter into a long-term lease, per Phil Matier of The San Francisco Chronicle (link). The team has offered a “community benefits package” to the city that includes affordable housing provisions and apprenticeship programs, with the expectation that the city drops its lawsuit against Alameda County in return. Alameda County, which holds the other half share of the Oakland Coliseum site, recently offered to sell its own half share to the A’s, but a city-initiated lawsuit has stalled that potential agreement. Work on the new Oakland Ballpark is expected to begin in the city’s Jack London Square area in 2021.
- Rays manager Kevin Cash was honored as one of Sporting News’ several award recipients today, with the outlet naming Cash as American League Manager of the Year (link). Cash was tasked in 2019 with a roster chock-full of trade acquisitions and overlooked players, ultimately leading Tampa to a 96-win season and an ALDS berth. Cash also deserves credit for getting his guys to surmount injury trouble–just two Rays players appeared in over 140 games–although there was another manager in his division who was tasked with some truly Herculean challenges with regard to roster management in 2019. Yankees manager Aaron Boone could be seen as something of a snub for this honor (which is not to be confused with the BBWAA awards that receive far more coverage and recognition) after his Bombers sent an MLB-record 30 players to the injured list en route to an AL East title in 2019.