The Indians “prefer not to deal” star shortstop Francisco Lindor this winter, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). Though his name his been through several rounds of the rumor mill, it seems the 26-year-old will remain in Cleveland — at least for the time being.
This report matches up with other recent chatter surrounding Lindor, who was said to be carrying a massive price tag on the market. Understandably, the Indians aren’t willing to make a deal that delivers anything less than a bonanza back.
It has been fair to wonder whether the Indians would put real effort into structuring a deal involving Lindor. The club wasn’t able to gain traction in prior extension talks. He’s now projected to earn $16.7MM entering his second-to-last season of arbitration eligibility. That’s a pittance for his production, but with Lindor closing in on the open market it seemed the small-market organization was positioned to listen to offers.
There could still be chatter surrounding Lindor (as well as some other huge names) over the coming days, weeks, and months. But if the Indians are indeed disinclined to make a deal, it’ll be incumbent upon other organizations to come forward with offers strong enough to spur interest on the part of an otherwise unwilling Cleveland organization.
Of course, even if Lindor stays put for the rest of this winter, it’s far from a guarantee that he’ll make it to free agency in an Indians uniform. Future circumstances will dictate the course of events, but Lindor would surely feature as a trade candidate next winter — if not sooner.
The Indians can still win this division and they have to go for it. In two or three years the White Sox will pass them by so now is the time.
This is their chance, they have to take it.
“Now is the time” for what exactly? A trade or keeping Lindor? Francisco Lindor is arguably the best all-around SS in MLB. Some of the trade packages being reported for him also include MLB ready players with more control which could keep the Indians strong in 2020 and even more so after 2021 when Lindor is a free agent.
I think a package centering on Paul DeJong does that for Cleveland. Minimizes the drop-off in SS production (still a significant drop, of course) and locks that in for a while.
Assuming that this DeJong trade was really centered around a couple of elite prospects, it may work.
I was thinking more in terms of a Dodgers package that reportedly includes some combination of middle infielder Corey Seager OR Gavin Lux with outfielder Alex Verdugo OR Joc Pederson. I’ve also seen LA catching prospect Keibert Ruiz name mentioned in rumors as well.
Indians are not interested in Seager and Pederson – both leaving in FA with or before Lindor.
Indians might do Verdugo and Lux – but the Dodgers probably wouldn’t.
The deals that make the most sense for both teams would be Seager and Verdugo OR Lux and Pederson in a package for Lindor. An even bigger blockbuster could emerge with Cory Kluber added to the mix.
I feel the Dodgers are finally going to do something BIG this offseason after being consecutive World Series bridesmaids in 2017 and 2018 along with their ouster by the Nationals in the 2019 NLDS. I believe that Andrew Friedman won’t be satisfied by having the best regular season team in MLB again and will try constructing a better roster to win a World Series in 2020. Adding a top 5 MLB player like Lindor and a proven ace like Kluber could be that BIG move.
“Go for it” means Lindor. I’m not sure what else it could have meant.
Any big name trade they make this year is not going to help there team win this year.
Do not underestimate the Indians – starting with Francona and their pitching.
Had Lindor been healthy at the beginning of 2019, they very probably would have won the AL Central.
And they will not fade away when Lindor leaves.
macstruts: You could have made that more clear in your comment.
Btw: How exactly do the Indians “go for it” by hanging on to Lindor in 2020? By hoping to pass the Twins in the AL Central or competing for a wild card with other established AL contenders along with perhaps a surprise team like the White Sox, Angels or Rangers? Even if they reach the postseason how will they be able to overcome AL juggernauts like the Astros and Yankees to say nothing of an NL representative like the Dodgers or Braves?
The Indians window for their first World Series title since 1948 is closing fast if not completely shut. Maybe they can conjure up the 2019 magic of the Washington Nationals in 2020 but I’m guessing that’s not happening and both Lindor and Cory Kluber will be hot trade candidates by the July 31st trade deadline. They might as well get the jump on Lindor now when he figures to have more value with two full years of team control and to more prospective suitors rather than just hoping that a serious championship contender needs a SS down the stretch. By next winter, Lindor will merely be a rental FA like Mookie Betts this offseason.
A bit late to go for it now. Sure they can still take the Central but their best chances of winning it all are already behind them.
Their best chance may have been in the past. It depends what Kluber has left in the tank.
C’mon. You make the playoffs, you have a chance, as 2016 proved. You don’t know when the “best chance” will occur.. You have no idea, no one does.
Even though the Indians are thrifty spenders, they should lock up Lindor long term or trade him now. It’s a massive fail if they don’t trade him and he walks in two years.
Why is that a “massive fail”? What if the Tribe makes the playoffs both years and does well? How could that be a massive fail?
People need to start realizing that small markets get six prime years of a player’s career before he’s gone. Those six years are worth a lot and don’t need to be traded away just because bigger markets come courting.
You want Lindor, ante up. Otherwise we’ll certainly enjoy his stay. I’m tired of hearing the perpetual hand-wringing over Lindor. Just relax. He’ll be motivated to put up two more massive years for the Tribe. I for one am looking forward to them.
Well said, Avory!!
No way the Tribe let him get to free agency. If he’s not gone this year, he’ll be gone next. I hate to see it, because he is a generational franchise player who you could really build a strong following around. There is no chance to resign him and it would be foolish to let him go for nothing. As a small market team, your only hope is when the time comes your return for these guys is enough to fuel your next window of contention. Bartolo Colon gave us Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore. Lee gave us Carrasco and Jason Donald(later traded for Bauer and Shin-Soo Choo). Sabathia gave us Brantley. Think of what the Indians would have been over the last 20 years if they did not deal those players.
Donald gave us a hit in-lieu of a perfect game for Tigers and was thrown in for utility depth for Bauer!
If this is true, it’s merely the Indians trying to drive up their price to start a bidding war. The Indians see how Boras operates and want to follow suit.
The Indians win about 90% of their trades. The whole franchise is stacked with trades that turned out great. I dont think they are playing games I think they are letting everyone, including other teams, they might keep him if they dont up the ante. That’s pretty normal
They should at least be open to seeing what other teams have to offer because the owner has already said he doesn’t see where they would have the money to sign him to any kind of long term deal.
It’s not a “massive fail” if they don’t trade him now. They’re in a good spot to win the division and it will only be a better position if a SP(Kluber) is dealt instead. It would not only bring in ready young talent, but it would free up more monies than they have now($20M) to spend. Unless it’s a total no brainer, Lindor isn’t going anywhere for now.
They have to lock him up long term then. If he walks after the next two seasons and they don’t win a WS title, or at least make it deep into the playoffs, I would call that a fail.
This isn’t his walk year though, so they can try to make a run with him this season and then still flip him next winter to recoup some value for him.
Might be more realistic to trade him then as a 1 year rental because the package for him now would need to be nuts.
They’re a small market and should not devote 25-30% of their allotted salary to one player. That’s a recipe for failure.
Kluber isn’t going to bring anything of real value though. Teams are going to look at his last season, recent injury problems, and declining velocity and stuff and not be willing to trade for what Kluber was.
If they were smart they would if they got the right offer. They could not afford to sign him long term.
Good chance they can do better at the trade deadline. All it takes is a team desperate for that final piece for a run at the title.
I get that Lindor is a VERY GOOD player, and I’m not trying to completely discredit him by saying the following.
That said, the “average” major leaguer last year, in 555 ABs, produced a .252/.323/.435 slash with 22.6 HRs, 28.4 2Bs and 75ish RBIs. That kind of production doesn’t cost you very much these days.
Lindor was 18% better than that. Phenomenal defender, great kid, but with the juiced ball being what it is, I tend to discount the power numbers out of hand a bit. And I just don’t see the value in dealing away 6 years of team control over 4+ top-end prospects AND ultimately paying this guy at the top of the mark.
Even with 2 years of control, he’s going to make $17M this year and probably $25M+ next year, and to keep him around beyond that likely takes $32M+ a year for what? 10 season? 12?
So outside of maybe 3 or 4 teams, the question becomes “Do you want to completely build your team around a guy who is 18% above league average in an offensive game?” And do you want to surrender ALL the players who would off-set the cost up front to facilitate a deal?
For that, why wouldn’t you just go hard for Rendon right now and keep your prospects? Are a bunch of teams desperate at shortstop?
Well said, however, you have to take into consideration that 18% above league average, ok, but hes doing at the premier position of SS. What % better is he than all the other SS in the league?
If you’re the Dodgers/Yankees/Sox and you can do this without majorly compromising your payroll in other areas, then I’m sure it can work. The prospect cost hurts those teams pretty badly though, I think.
On the flip side, for a small or mid-market team, even if he’s 50% better than the average shortstop and 70% better when you factor in the defense, he’s just not going to be the #1 guy on a great team unless a LOT of other things go right. And you’re giving away 4 of the “other things” that could potentially go right.
The only way a trade for him works is if he’s “the last piece.”
See Bryce Harper to the answer to your question….
Now I’d say if the Indians were ever going to committed to a franchise player now is the time. You pay the man now a 8yr. $200MM-$225MM and if he hedges then you go to market and start taking bids and trade him before spring training.
If my numbers are right, the Indians spent in the range of $120-125M last year.
Even if Lindor took a HUGE “hometown discount” 8/$200 is $25M a year. That’s fully 20% of their payroll. I just don’t see how it works out long term.
That’s just the reality of the game. On the bright side, Cleveland fans, he’ll probably sign for $300M with somebody and go in the tank immediately so…
Total Payroll: $91,158,334
100% agree. There’s a reason the Indians haven’t won a title since 1948.
Lindor also missed almost all of April due to injury. You need to project added stats for that missed time.
Lets goo yankees, get this done offer Fraizer,Adams, JA Happ.
that would net get you Lindor, not even close
This type of comment is exactly why Yankees fans consistently get ripped apart on this site. Can’t even properly spell your own player’s name.
As a Yankees fan myself, I say please stop.
lol….would take 3 top 10 plus Andujar.
Yanks fan here too. Didn’t they non-tender Chance Adams?
Pretty sure that package wouldn’t get you a bag of Lindor truffles.
That package is nowhere close to what it would take to get Lindor… This isn’t MLB the Show, where you can turn on force trades and trade for whoever you want. The Yankees could potentially trade for Lindor if they wanted to, but it’s most certainly going to be for a much bigger/better package of players than Frazier, Adams and Happ…
Absolutely ridiculous trade proposals are thrown up on this site all the time, and most certainly not just by Yankees fans. More focus just gets put on them because there’s quite a few Yankees’ haters on this site.
Terrible trade. Use Google and find a trade analyzer to help you get a better barometer of what’s realistic. Not to say those are perfect, but it’ll help you have a better opinion.
A few examples if what trade simulators suggest is fair:
Lindor for Andujar, Schmidt, and D Garcia.
or here’s another ridiculous one that balances the scales
Yanks: Lindor and Mazara
Texas: Andujar and Happ
Cleveland: J Dominguez, D Garcia, and Josh Jung
Switch Deivi Garcia for the Indians with Miguel Andujar for the Rangers and this deal becomes much more pallatable for Cleveland & the Rangers..
Gson, I don’t see the interest in Andujar. He was the worst defensive 3B in baseball in 2018 and he is coming off a major arm injury. In my opinion, he is a DH and the Indians already have Reyes. I do not trade Lindor for a question mark.
Cleveland is not trading Lindor for just prosects.
I smell BS. I think this is a weak tactic to drive up the offer price. Indians know a rebuild is coming and he’s one of their best assets. If they start the rebuild now, it can be short. If they wait, they’ll get lesser returns and a longer rebuild. Look at SF. They’re going to suck for a while because they delayed the inevitable.
They’re doing it on the fly.
The Indians have controllable starting pitchers in Clevinger, Bieber, Civale, Plutko, and Plesac – with more coming. And most are going to get better. No team in MLB has that level of controllable pitching on their roster. They have a controllable power hitter in Reyes, an excellent young OF in Mercado. Perez won the platinum glove as a catcher in 2019. Rameriz is locked up for a few more years, and after his disastrous experience playing in Philly, Santana would prefer to stay in Cleveland after 2020 with a solid, professional organization and manager. Their top prospect is a 3B, and Karinchak looks like a closer withing the next couple of years. The 2 NK-ready LH’ers that they got in the Bauer trade are already being worked with – and the Indians develop pitchers as well as the Astros and Rays. Klubrer will be traded for some young help, and Lindor as well in a year. Plus they have more in the farm system coming up.
Do NOT go to sleep on that team.
Bingo! I love when people underestimate this organization! (Including their own ignorant “fans”.)
Well said, Samuel!!!! Go Tribe!
I don’t think SF is the right team to use as comparison. They are loaded with old players that have terrible contracts. Even without Lindor, the Indians have a lot of young players contributing at the major league level.. Bieber, Clev, Mercado, Plesac, Civale.. and then a crop of guys poised to get a shot this year.. Franmil Reyes, Bauers, Daniel Johnson, Karinchak and maybe Nolan Jones.
The Royals would have been closer to the mark, but I still think the Indians are far better off. There is always a chance the rebuild on the fly can fail (like it did in 2002 for the Indians) but they have a lot of young, controllable talent outside of Lindor.
Maybe the Indians want to compete so to say they’re stupid for not trading one of the best SS in the game is a little much. They have a nice rotation and is Kluber returns to form or close to it they could have a very scary good rotation. I think this is posturing a little bit though. If they get MLB ready talent and can shed money then i think there is a case to be made for trading him. I saw it suggested a couple places the Cards could deal DeJong and O’Neill and a prospect for him. That would be a good trade by the Indians, however I don’t understand it from Cards point of view. The White Sox and Twins are looking good in the division as well but neither are runaways so Cleveland can still compete. Point is there is a really good case to be made either way you look at it.
The Indians are in a strange place with Lindor. On the surface it makes sense to trade him because the team doesn’t sign huge contracts and he would bring a ton back in return in a trade right now. Everyone throws around the idea the Indians can’t afford to sign him when in reality they could if they want to. Forever it might be just as true that they can’t afford not to sign him.
A lot of people say that teams don’t care what the fans think and its a business but they have to worry about what happens to the fan base if they trade him. If you look at the attendance for the team it started to climb when Lindor was called up and he almost instantly became the face of the franchise. For a team that hasn’t won a World Series in over 70 years to trade maybe the best player they have ever had could turn fans away from supporting the team. Does attendance fall if they trade him and the fans get upset about it and how much? Do merchandise sales fall without being able to sell stuff with his name on it? Plus they have a tv deal coming up for renegotiation in a few years too and they have very high ratings but those could fall because of a trade too. Basically it boils down to the front office deciding how much money do we think lose if we trade him compared to signing him and if it is worth it.
While the CWS look on paper like they are the set to control the division..they haven’t done it on the field yet. In addition, the Twins can be an enigma from looking great to average and KC and Detroit won’t resurface until 2023. So why not keep Lindor as the guy and continue to develop the farm system that is in good shape now.
This is EXACTLY right. People act like, what, Cleveland is going to be sitting around for the next two years while Lindor plays all-star caliber shortstop? Of course not. They will be grooming a replacement. Meanwhile, the Tribe will likely STILL win the division (or be close to it) the next two years. Nothing to be discouraged by in Tribe land, although that doesn’t keep our traditionally negative “glass half empty” fanbase from bellyaching.
I read this as “Indians decline to discuss deal with Lindor.”
That’s the more important point, that the Indians won’t pay him when they can clearly afford to.
“clearly can afford to” based on what?
Their payroll last year was $120M. Is there a world where he’s not going to pull a $30M+ AAV on a new deal? So should they increase payroll by 40% to keep him? Without adding a dollar of new revenue?
Or should they pay him $30M and try to construct a team with the remaining $90M?
The issue is not “should we pay him $30 million next year?” The issue is should we pay him $30 m for eight or ten years? Put another way, the operative number is not $30 million. It is $270 to $300 million. And the real question is: can a franchise that is roughly worth $1.2 billion pay one player 25 % of the value of the team?
Answer: it would be insane to pay one player (who is one misstep away from an injury) that much money.
The Indians – or any mid market team except for the St. Louis Cardinals – cannot sanely pay one player the amount that it will take to keep Frankie in Cleveland.
Can they afford to pay him AND field a competitive team? I think not.
They competed last year with an opening day payroll around 120 million. Kluber (17 million) and Carrasco (10 million) were non factors for most of last year due to a fluke injury and life threatening illness respectively so they essentially competed with a payroll around 93 million. They have done well drafting and have a ton of pitching depth now and coming up again around 2022-23 as well as some promising position prospects around that time too. Its harder since they don’t have the money to spend big on holes but they should stay competitive for a while.
Exactly right. They will be in the thick of things for the foreseeable future.
The Indians should trade Lindor and Kluber to the Dodgers for Seager and 3 near ready players or 4 top prospects. Indians are done
Why would the Indians want Corey Seager? He’s got the same amount of service time as Lindor!!
So they can piss their fanbase off again by trading Seager 15 after they get him because they can’t afford to sign him long-term either?
They can trade Seager then, because Tyler Freeman should be ready to take over at SS.
The Indians are really good at maximizing their assets. That’s why they’re almost certain not to deal him now. By waiting until the 2020 deadline, they get premium production for 60+% of the season (depending on how close to the deadline they wait).
More importantly though, they learn more about how their roster is shaping up for a 2020 postseason run. The Major League pieces in the return are bound to be the least valuable and most subject to change, so what positions should be covered? Last year, with the Bauer trade, they needed immediate OF help. Enter Puig. This year, maybe a couple SP’s go down and what looked like an excellent rotation on paper in December becomes a huge question mark in July. Then they’ll need a rental piece while their young arms recover, and they needlessly sacrificed a 2020 postseason spot by dealing before the season.
In addition to all this, the urgency ramps up for buyers in July, and some of the small-market teams might more easily stomach 1+ years of Lindor’s cost than can handle 2 full years, even at pre-FA rates.
Makes all the sense in the world to keep him and Kluber on the team until the trade deadline. If they are in it, can hold, and if not can sell. Value won’t be that much less since teams will gauge both players performance and have both players for 2 possible playoff runs still.
I see Lindor getting traded to the dodgers for joc Pederson, Corey seager, lux and a pitcher, because the Indians are looking to dish off big contracts!
The Indians are going to want controllable assets, not 2 players heading to free agency, Pederson and Seager. Otherwise, 2 more years of Lindor is the better bet.
no chance they get Seager. He’ll be a FA in 2 years like Frankie. Does not help the penny-pinching Indians
They don’t want contracts they can control look at the puig trade to see my point is right!
FA years for the players acquired in the Bauer trade:
Hardly slanted towards pending FA’s.
What? They don’t want contracts they can control? What does that mean? It’s exactly the opposite
Because you have a Dolan as a owner, because he is a cheap stake
“That’s a pittance for his production.”
A pittance? Seriously? Man, your view of reality is messed up.
The Ghost of Bobby Bonilla
The Indians can get an absolute haul trading Lindor this offseason. Or they can get a massive package trading him this July at the Deadline, if they are out of it. Or, they can get a big package next offseason.
The Indians are playing this right and only dealing him now if they are blown away. As in, are the Dodgers desperate enough to finally win a WS to deal Lux, Verdugo, Ruiz, plus some other assets? If not, well, Lindor isn’t going anywhere. yet.
What about the Yankees? Andujar, Frazier, Florial, Dominguez, plus other assets? No, well, then Cashman is going to deal all season with his fans screaming about how it’s been a decade since they won the AL.
Indians are in the driver’s seat and don’t have to do anything. Yet.
Lindor is going to ball-out these next two years to try to get his $300M deal. They can keep that production, or deal him if they get their haul.
Obviously Cleveland decided tickets sales are a higher priority than getting some prospects and/or MLB ready players for Lindor. Sound decision on their part, putting the fanbase first lol.
“Prefer not to deal”….. so you’re saying there’s a chance
Reminds me of the Betts situation. The teams’ expectations are about double what the market is willing to pay. Hence the players will not be traded. In the Red Sox’s case, this means they will be accepting a QO draft pick for losing Betts. Based on the Indians’ expectations, which are likely to be exorbitant both at the trade deadline and again next winter, they may very well settle for a draft pick, too.
I don’t think the Indians are saying they will never trade him. I also don’t think you should put too much stock in what we Indians fans want for him. The Indians have a long history of figuring out how much the market will pay for a player and then maximizing their return. That is what they are doing with Frankie. Yes, I would love it if the Dodgers gave us Lux, Verdugo and Ruiz for him. Is that likely to happen? Well – I’d LIKE it.
This is positioning. The Indians are saying they won’t trade Frankie NOW – unless they get blown away. If a team wants to way overpay, we’ll take their players, but otherwise, don’t expect a trade until the trading deadline.
This strikes me as disappointment in the Betts situation from Boston’s perspective, which is perfectly fair. There’s no indication that Cleveland is overplaying its hand, however. The group under Antonetti has proven itself willing to part with pre-FA assets to benefit the team long-term.