Francisco Lindor passing on Cleveland’s offer could have a profound impact on future contracts.
If you’re a fan of a Major League Baseball team that’s going to need to compensate a top-tier free agent in the near future, pay attention. $100 million doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.
That’s what Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor reportedly turned down when the Indians took a crack at a contract extension for the 23 year-old during the offseason. Lindor made his first All-Star Game appearance last season and helped lead his club to an American League Pennant. He earned $540,300 in 2016.
A season after finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting, to Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros, Lindor constructed a season that now gets him mentioned as one of the top shortstops in all of baseball. Last season he hit .301 with 15 home runs and 78 RBI. He earned a Platinum Gold Glove as the top defensive player in the American League.
That’s a lot of reasons to get paid a lot of money. Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated writes that the trend of Lindor and other young sluggers turning down mountains of cash could impact MLB contracts for years to come.
Verducci thinks 2021 may be the season when we see contracts reach unprecedented heights. That’s the year Lindor, Correa, Chicago Cubs third-baseman Kris Bryant, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, and Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber could all become free agents. That would come after Bryce Harper has cashed in on his first gigantic payday, further catapulting salaries into the stratosphere.
For now, Cleveland will have to settle for getting its money’s worth. Fourteen games into the 2017 campaign and Lindor has picked up where he left off as a member of the baseball elite. Not a bad deal for $579,300.