Cleveland Indians: What’s the delay on a Francisco Lindor trade?

Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

What is delaying the Cleveland Indians from inevitably trading Francisco Lindor?

The Cleveland Indians played their last game nearly three months ago, yet Francisco Lindor still remains on the roster amongst trade rumors. With how adamant the organization has been in regards to making a point that they wanted to trade Lindor, it seemed like the trade could happen at anytime.

Yet, here we are. The Winter Meetings have passed, the calendar is about to flip over to 2021 and pitchers and catchers report in roughly two months. Despite that, Francisco Lindor remains on the roster of the Cleveland Indians.

What is perhaps even more amazing is the lack of rumors. During the Winter Meetings we heard ruffling that Lindor to the Toronto Blue Jays could be a possibility, but beyond that there hasn’t been any real speculation of trade talk between the Indians and anyone else for Lindor.

Now before anyone jumps to conclusions, this isn’t entirely abnormal. Last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox didn’t agree on a trade for Mookie Betts until February 10, just a couple days before Spring Training. However, there seemed to have been more rumblings of a deal for Betts throughout the offseason.

So, what’s the hold up? Why is taking so long for even rumors to surface about what the Cleveland Indians will do with Francisco Lindor?

For starters, the financial landscape of the 2021 season is much different than what teams were preparing for just a year ago or even six months ago. Teams that are normally inclined to be spending during this time of the year are now in limbo as they await news on what the next year will bring. It’s hard to plan financially for a season when you don’t know if you will have tickets, concessions, etc.

To the same point, many teams are in the same position as the Cleveland Indians in the fact that they want to cut payroll. This is happening around baseball, not just in Cleveland. With so many teams trying to do this, pawning off a $20+ million contract for just one year guaranteed isn’t exactly ideal. Sure, Lindor could sign a long-term deal, but that’s just going to be even more money to consider in any discussions.

Another side of the trade is something completely outside the control of the Cleveland Indians, the free agent market. Teams might be more willing to spend the same amount of money on an impact player that they don’t have to trade away assets to get. While Trevor Bauer is the hot name on the market, there are plenty of other impact players available, and some are shortstops.

While older, D.J. LeMahieu could be a more intriguing player to add to some teams. He doesn’t require trading away prospects and is honestly more versatile than Lindor when it comes to playing different positions. The same could be said for Marcus Semien or even Didi Gregorius. While they might not be at the level of Francisco Lindor, the means of acquiring them is much more attractive.

It could also just be that the Cleveland Indians are holding out for the best offer. They saw what the Red Sox received last year for Betts and if waiting nets them a similar haul then it would be worth it. The trouble is that there is added risk that the Indians could get stuck with Lindor and his arbitration price tag for at least a portion of the season. The worst case is that they can’t find a deal for Lindor at all and end up empty handed when he walks in free agency at the end of the season.

The reality is that while odds are Francisco Lindor will begin the 2021 season with a team that isn’t the Cleveland Indians, we just have to wait to see what the return in the deal will be. There’s too many variables and options for teams to sell the farm in a trade at this point, but the chances will continue to become less and less as we get closer to the season.

What might end up happening is a deal like that of the Red Sox and Dodgers from a year ago. A last minute blockbuster that changes the scope of the season. Until then, it will just be speculation about the what if’s of potential deals.

dark. Next. Cleveland Indians taking a Tampa Bay Rays roster approach