Francisco Lindor Contract Situation
The Cleveland Indians have gotten themselves into a mess with regards to their best player’s contract. Francisco Lindor is currently the best bargain in all of Major League baseball. Last year, prior to arbitration, the Indians and Lindor agreed to a one year contract worth $623,200. The Indians missed their chance to extend him last offseason. Lindor is 24 years old and arguably the best shortstop in Major League Baseball. Lindor is eligible for arbitration for the next three years, at which time he will be in the prime of his career. I can only imagine what the difference will be between what Lindor asks for and what the Indians are willing to give him. The last huge contract for a middle infielder was Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, who signed a 5 year, $151 million contract with a signing bonus of $21 million in March. Altuve is 4 years older than Lindor. I would think that Lindor and his agent will start somewhere in the $30 million ballpark, and in my opinion, he is well worth it.
The Indians historically do not pay for their superstars, but they are in rarified air right now. They have a couple of players who are the best at their position and they are going to have to start paying for them. Unless the Indians change their ways and start paying for the players they have, they’ll continue getting away to other teams. Thome, Ramirez, and Belle are a few of the top free agents that the Tribe has lost over the years to big market teams that were willing to pay. They cannot afford to do that with the young starsthey have on this team.
Chris Antonetti and the front office took care of Jose Ramirez in 2017 to the tune of 5 years and $26 million, which will take them through 2022 and then the team has club options for 2023 and 2024 at $11 and $13 million respectively. The Indians have been doing a better job of signing their young stars to multi-year extensions pre-arbitration, as evidenced by the signings of Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, Yan Gomes, Jason Kipnis, and Michael Brantley, with Kluber and Gomes signing the largest pre-arbitration deals for their position. The front office and the ownership better be ready to pony up another huge pre-arbitration contract for Lindor too.
Lindor is not only the best player on the Indians team, but he is also a crowd favorite. Not only is he a crowd favorite, but he is the favorite of the youngest of fans. The kids in Cleveland love him. I’m not sure if it is his infectious smile or just that he plays the game the right way, but all of Cleveland loves him. It would destroy the city, just short of the way LeBron leaving did to the city and team. Let’s hope that the team can get something long-term done this offseason so they can avoid arbitration. Let’s Go Tribe!