CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Francisco Lindor will play this season on a one-year for $10.55-million. For what he does for the team, he is probably underpaid. Don’t ask him to complain about it though. “It’s pretty good! I’ll take it!" he told reporters. “I’m blessed to play this game and get paid for it. My agent did an outstanding job and the Indians came up with the right number that we thought it was good for what the market was dictating for me.”
The two sides avoided arbitration with that deal, a process that can sometimes get messy. Lindor will be arbitration-eligible for 2020 and 2021 as well. He will be eligible for free agency after the 2021 season, unless the Indians sign him to a long-term deal. That will be very challenging for the ball club. He is considered one of the best players in the game. This offseason baseball has already seen Bryce Harper turn down $300-million from the Nationals. By the time Lindor is eligible, a club might offer $400-million or more.
The way around that for a small market team like the Indians is to sign the player very early in his career to a long term deal. Baseball players make the league-minimum for their first three years before even reaching arbitration. A long term deal early in the process pays the player much more early on than they would normally make. The trade off comes where the contract covers a few years of free agency. The Indians have been trying to get Lindor to sign that kind a deal. “That’s not where we are right now. I was focusing on arbitration. That’s not where I am. When it comes to long-term deals, I love the city of Cleveland. I love everything about Cleveland. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens. At the end of the day I’m playing to win and this is a good place where I do win.”
The Indians have made the playoffs the last three years, and the landscape of the AL Central favors them to keep that streak alive for a bit longer.