Different seasons, same rumors about Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians: the week in baseball

CLEVELAND, Ohio – As much as things change, and they have certainly changed in relation to the 2020 MLB season, some things never change.

When Commissioner Rob Manfred launched a 60-game season on Monday because no agreement could be reached with the MLB Players Association, one of the elements of the shortened season was the trading deadline on August 31. At the moment that became public, the first question in all of baseball was, “When do the Indians trade with Francisco Lindor?”

A few days ago, a national baseball writer told a sports talk show in Cleveland that he had been told that the Indians were “doing a fire sale.” When this five-alarm flame was placed on a squad that won 93 games last year was unknown, but it is said that Sammy The Torch was discovered when he covered Progressive Field.

Lindor’s time in an Indian uniform is undoubtedly limited. He is a free agent after the 2021 season and it is clear that he is looking for a contract that is far beyond the reach of owner Paul Dolan. Team managers Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff spent the winter fielding deals on Lindor.

So the idea of ​​it being traded shouldn’t be a shock. But “selling fire” implies that much more than a corpse will go out the door. Does this mean that Carlos Santana and Brad Hand would follow their contracts in the last guaranteed years? What about Mike Clevinger, whose salary made a big leap in his first year of arbitration before the prorated termites worked on it?

The last time the Indians made a real fire sale was in 2009 when the owners feared losing too much money. Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee, Mark DeRosa, Rafael Betancourt and Carl Pavano were among the traded players.

In 2009, Dolan was only dealing with an inferior team. This time it’s a pandemic, widespread unemployment and social unrest across the country. When Antonetti spoke to reporters on Friday, he described the tribe’s financial losses this year as “exceptional.” He added, “I don’t expect us to make short-term decisions that will be affected by finance.”

Should the Indians trade Lindor after the 2019 season? Maybe, but it is clear that nobody would meet his price, so they decided to try another run this off-season. The season has changed, but the opportunity is still there.

It is a season with 60 games and the Indians have one of the 10 best players in the game in Lindor. Some, including Lindor, would say he’s in the top five.

When the Indians open the season on July 24, they have 39 days covering more than half of the season before the close on August 31. That should give them a good idea of ​​whether the right time to trade Lindor has come or not. Because teams can only swap players from their 60-player pool this season, it could be a sign that Lindor’s bids are running when you see teams adding their best prospects to their pool as the deadline approaches .

On the other hand, is there such a big difference between trading in Lindor on August 31 or winter meetings – assuming there are winter meetings – in December?

What would fascinate Lindor for the Indians this season would be if the playoff format were expanded from 10 to 14 or 16 teams. It was a general advantage in the proposals that owners and players exchanged in almost three painful months of negotiations. When the players rejected the owner’s last suggestion for a season with 60 games and 100% of their pro rata salaries, the extended playoffs were lost.

Since there has never been a definitive agreement between the owners and the players – Manfred has implemented the 60-game season as was his right under an agreement between the two sides on March 26th – there is still room for such negotiations . An expanded playoff format would mean more money for owners and players, which is what all the trouble and annoyance was all about.

This would not only increase Lindor’s value for the Indians, but also for the teams interested in winning him over. In one way or another, the Indians can save this wreck of a season.

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