Indians’ manager Terry Francona spoke clearly and confidently during an appearance on MLB Network Radio’s Remember When (audio link). According to Francona, Francisco Lindor is not on the trading block.
“I can guarantee you we’re not trying to trade Lindor. We have him for two more years. Keeping him is everybody’s goal. Also know that keeping him and fielding a competitive team is a challenge in our market. There’s no getting around that. It’s not gonna be easy. I think that’s as honest as you can be.”
This jibes more-or-less with what we’ve been hearing out of Cleveland for most of the offseason. Still, Francona lends the message a certain gravitas. If the tone was more forceful, the content doesn’t differ all that significantly from the the equivocating trafficked by front offices. The Indians, like many teams, are in a position of financial maneuvering. The payroll limits imposed by ownership charge the baseball ops department to act creatively and consider options at which they’d otherwise scoff.
Doom and gloom aside, the Indians aren’t devoid of talent. Despite missing the playoffs in 2019 to a Twins team that’s continued their full court press this winter, the Indians are coming off their fourth consecutive 90-win season. They won just one less game in 2020 than in 2016, the year they won the pennant.