Francisco Lindor is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season. The Cleveland Indians need to try to sign him to an extension.
Francisco Lindor has become one of the biggest stars in the game today for the Cleveland Indians.
Lindor already has four straight seasons in which he’s been an All-Star and put up a WAR of at least 5.0. While he’s already finished in the top 10 of AL MVP voting three times, at age 26, he could be still entering his prime.
Lindor is also set to become a free agent after next season. There was speculation throughout this past offseason that the Indians would try to trade him, and that speculation has continued here into July. Yet if the Indians are going to try to sign him to an extension, now would be the time to do it.
Can the Indians sign Lindor to an extension?
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand has said that a trade of Lindor feels “inevitable.” The Indians traded Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers this past offseason, seeming to indicate that they were trying to shed payroll. Was this to help re-sign Lindor? Or was it a sign that they still want to try to do so?
In any case, the Indians don’t have a lot of long-term money committed to other players right now. They will have Carlos Santana and Brad Hand coming off their payroll after this season (though they do hold options on both of them). Carlos Carrasco and Jose Ramirez are the only two players signed for big money next season (excluding arbitration-eligible players).
Lindor is currently the face of this franchise, and especially after they had to let Kluber go, it would be a shame if the Indians did indeed have to part ways with Lindor. It would be nice if they could make a push to sign him now, both to avoid arbitration next year and to keep him in the fold long-term without having to worry about it this offseason or into next year.
If the Indians make a big push to sign Lindor now, at least they will have tried and they can focus on trying to trade him either during this upcoming shortened season or during the offseason while his value is still relatively high. It would be a sign of goodwill from the team that they are trying to keep their star, as despite the fact that the team has been a contender the past few years, they still ranked in the bottom third of the league in attendance last year.
It’s always nice to see players stay with their original teams, especially when they aren’t from big markets. The Indians are still in a position where they can contend this year and beyond. Hopefully, the two sides will try and be able to get a deal done.