Francisco Lindor will demand a high price tag after arbitration, but how high will the price be for the Cleveland Indians?
There is just one more year of arbitration left on docket for Francisco Lindor before he can fully negotiate a deal that encompasses his full worth. However, one more year is also the assumed timetable for how much longer he will don the Cleveland Indians uniform, and it comes from the same reason.
While Lindor has been one of the best players at the shortstop position, if not in the game as a whole, he is rapidly approaching the point of pricing himself out of Cleveland. Thanks to the odd rules of baseball contracts, the Indians have one year remaining of bargain play from Mr. Smile.
The arbitration process of baseball can be odd and unpredictable at times, but there is a set precedent that is followed in each contract dispute. Like any court case, both sides present evidence for why they are right and in the end a number is said that turns into the player’s salary for the year.
This is something that is unique to baseball and can create confusion on contracts, but with no salary cap it remains to be one of the few things that keeps the playing field as even as possible despite all the various markets and budgets of the teams in the league.
There is a chance that Cleveland and Lindor reach an agreement before the court is called in, whether that be a one-year deal or the ever-so-rare long-term lucrative deal that Indians ownership refuses to speak of. No matter how it comes to be, we can still create some sort of grasp for the price tag that will accompany Lindor in the 2021 season.
By looking at previous arbitration cases of similar caliber players, finding the range for which Lindor will be paid can at least be estimated. There are other details that will impact the decision, but overall the contract should be rather predictable.
One thing that will be difficult is finding players that are comparable and are still in the arbitration process. Most times, the elite players like Lindor strike a long-term deal long before their final arbitration period, so his case is a bit rare.