The Cleveland Indians may decide to shock fans and trade Francisco Lindor this offseason. A solid backup plan is needed if that does indeed happen.
The smart thing to do is to have a backup plan. The tricky thing about that is the fact the Indians won’t go out and sign a replacement if the plan isn’t to imminently trade Lindor. That obviously would not make much sense.
If the plan is to move him this offseason, which is entirely possible even if it makes some fans want to cry, the team cannot wait too long to do so. Doing that could mean all the top replacements are off the table.
Former New York Mets GM and ESPN analyst Steve Phillips made an interesting point that I came across on Twitter.
Didi Gregorius is an obvious target for the Indians, if Lindor is going to be traded this offseason. Getting the veteran to replace Lindor would help avoid a major dropoff at the position and would also bring a veteran presence to Cleveland.
The tricky part is that Gregorius could be off the market by the time the Indians actually need to consider signing him. Though him being signed early in the offseason would signal what the plan would be with Lindor.
If the Indians do not sign Lindor to an extension then getting a veteran shortstop at least keeps the team competitive and avoids the look of a rebuild. Fortunately, losing one player won’t doom a talented baseball team. But losing Lindor and replacing him with a below average player would be a major disappointment.
If the team decides to wait a year on the Lindor decision we will be in the same spot next offseason looking at potential replacements. Though waiting may not be the best option, as much as that stinks for fans.