Wait until July
The Indians are still trying to win a World Series for the first time since 1948. Lindor is obviously a top player for the Indians in any title chase.
His value won’t be as high as it is now if he starts the season with the Indians, but it does allow the Indians to maintain the title chase in 2020.
This option keeps Lindor on the Indians in his second-to-last year of team control. The team begins the season with the best possible club, or so I hope, with the goal of winning a World Series.
But let’s say July rolls around and the team is scuffling. Or better yet, teams are offering the Indians insane offers to acquire Lindor and make a title run of their own. That is where the conundrum comes in.
Do the Indians help another team with the same goal of winning a World Series? I think that all depends on the outlook for the Indians’ chances once the trade deadline nears.
The front office won’t admit it but I think it is safe to say they did not think the Indians could take down the Houston Astros or New York Yankees in the postseason this year. If the team was only one player away and truly going for it, there was plenty of time and need to make an upgrade. Alas, they hang their hats on the 93 wins.
Trading Lindor at the deadline would fit the history of this team. Think back to the Victor Martinez, CC Sabathia, and Cliff Lee deals. The team was in a different situation then but all those trades saw stars sent away for several players in return.
The story was the same each time. The Indians weren’t going to offer any of those players a major contract and ended up sending all three to contenders. Though let me point out I am still salty about the Martinez trade.
The Indians should still be contenders in July of next season. Trading Lindor then could do more damage to the team than trading him in the offseason. That is something for the organization to keep in mind.