What’s up with Francisco Lindor? Here’s how Cleveland Indians stand

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What’s up with Francisco Lindor? Here’s how Cleveland Indians stand

Post by admin » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:46 am

After the 2018 season, the Cleveland Indians told Corey Kluber there were likely to be a lot of trade rumors that included his name.

Their stance was, “Try to ignore it. We will let you know if anything is really close.”

They never made a call to Kluber about that... until a month ago, as he was being traded to the Texas Rangers for Emmanuel Clase.

Francisco Lindor was told the same thing. While the Indians have had seemingly countless texts and calls from other teams about their star shortstop, there has been nothing close to a deal.

Other teams say the Indians have an exorbitant asking price for the 26-year-old Lindor. The Indians say publicly and privately that Lindor is one of the best players in baseball, the full package on and off the field.

Furthermore, the Indians believe they can win the AL Central Division. If they were in a rebuild stage, Lindor would probably have been traded by now. They did receive some attractive offers of lower level minor league prospects.

Here’s what I’ve heard:

1. The Tribe wants a combination of good, young big league players under team control for several years along with top prospects. It would be a hyper-version of July’s Trevor Bauer three-way deal with the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres.

2. In that trade, the Indians received Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes to immediately help the big league team. Puig was a rental for the rest of the season. Reyes is considered a core player, a power hitter for the next several years. They also received prospects Logan Allen, Scott Moss and Victor Nova.

3. The Reds have talked to the Tribe about Lindor, who is a free agent in two seasons. The Reds don’t believe they can sign Lindor to an extension. It’s the same with Bauer, a free agent after the 2020 season. The Reds want to go all-in to make the playoffs this summer and worry about free agency later.

4. The Reds have traded a lot of prospects in the last few years, including Moss (a highly-regarded starter) to the Tribe. They seemed to think the Indians are anxious to trade Lindor. They’re wrong.

5. Several weeks ago, the Indians did put out word they’d like the best offers for Lindor. But there was no firm deadline. As one baseball executive told me, “Teams set deadlines all the time, then change them.”

6. Things could change if the Los Angeles Dodgers decide they want to deal top prospects Gavin Lux, Dustin May and some others. The Dodgers have a loaded farm system. Lux was the 2019 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year. But so far, the Dodgers haven’t made the kind of offer to entice the Indians into thinking twice about trading Lindor.

LINDOR AND THE 2020 SEASON

The Indians say Lindor is in a great frame of mind. He was frustrated last season when he strained a calf muscle right before spring training. As he prepared to join the Indians late in spring training, he suffered a high ankle sprain.

Lindor missed the first 18 games of the 2019 season because of injuries. It was his first trip to the disabled list.

Not only is Lindor an All-Star, he has been durable. Between 2016-18, he missed only 11 games. Once he returned in 2019, he missed only one game. He has vowed to be in the best condition of his career to open spring training.

This is the first time Lindor’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors. Different players have different reactions. The Indians don’t think the rumors have had a negative impact on Lindor.

Things can always change with one phone call. The Dodgers still want to add a star-caliber player. They have talked about dealing for Mookie Betts and Kris Bryant, along with Lindor. Perhaps they will meet the Tribe’s price.

But right now, it appears Tribe president Chris Antonetti is correct when he says he expects Lindor to open the season with the Tribe.

ABOUT THE TRIBE

1. I don’t understand the arbitration process. Lindor ended up with a $17.5 million deal, as did Bauer. Neither player went to arbitration. They settled as it came close. Lindor had a superb season, hitting .284 (.854 OPS) with 32 HR, 74 RBI. He is only the fifth player in baseball history to have at least 40 doubles and 30 HR in three consecutive seasons, according to the Tribe’s post-season media guide.

2. Bauer had an 11-13 record and 4.48 ERA in 2019. With the Reds, he was 2-5 with a 6.39 ERA in 10 starts after the trade. Bauer’s first full season in the majors was 2014. Only once (2018) has he had an ERA under 4.00. I can’t explain how they both end up with the same deal, other than it’s driven by arbitration.

3. MLBtraderumors.com is an excellent source for various information, especially arbitration. They use some type of formula to estimate the salaries of arbitration-eligible players. They predicted $18.6 million for Bauer, $16.7 for Lindor. I guess Bauer gets more because he has one more year of service.

4. I was surprised the Indians shipped backup catcher Eric Haase to the Detroit Tigers for cash. I was told the Indians were concerned about his strikeouts. He struck out 287 times in 886 Class AAA plate appearances. He also had 49 HR and 133 RBI in 224 games. Haase is 27.

5. The Tribe picked up 30-year-old career backup catcher Sandy Leon to replace Haase. The Indians internal stats show Leon as a superior game-caller and pitch-framer. Pitchers love to throw to him. The same is said about starter Roberto Perez. With a young starting staff, the Indians wanted a veteran catcher to help the pitchers. Leon doesn’t hit, a career .221 (.615 OPS) average in parts of eight seasons.

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