Wait until next year
The easiest option for the Indians is just to do nothing and pretend like all is well.
Lindor still has at least two more years in Cleveland and will still be a top trade target next offseason. The potential return will go down but it will still be significant. A big market team may trade for him in the hopes that he will immediately sign an extension for the figure he desires.
Keeping him throughout 2020 also sends a message to the team, and the fans, that the goal remains the same. Because the second the team trades Lindor it will be clear that a mini-rebuild is taking place. Other trades could follow as well as the Indians make major changes to the roster.
If the Indians don’t win the World Series and also don’t trade Lindor in 2020, fans are going to be watching the front office with wary eyes. It will either be a trade or an extension at that point. Keeping Lindor until the 2021 trade deadline wouldn’t make much sense if everyone knew a trade was coming. It would just be a bad business decision.
I am curious to see how fans take this. If Lindor refuses to take the team’s best offer there are two ways of thinking. The first is to curse ownership for not paying him. The second is to hate on Lindor for wanting all that money. But if that is what a team is willing to pay him, can you blame him?
All this trade talk is never fun. The only optimistic part is that the Indians could acquire future stars in return that ultimately lead the team to a World Series title.
Or, in an unforeseen move, the Indians could actually give Lindor an extension. That sure would be something.