Cleveland Indians: Offseason might be last chance to extend Francisco Lindor

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 11: Francisco Lindor
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 11: Francisco Lindor /

This offseason may present the Cleveland Indians with their last chance they have Francisco Lindor through his age 27 season.

The Cleveland Indians head into the offseason with a big to-do list.

A good chunk of a Tribe team that won 102 games in 2017 will return, but there are some key free agents (Carlos Santana, Jay Bruce, Bryan Shaw) to consider. Additionally, the Tribe has to think about arbitration, particularly for Cody Allen, who could stand to get a $3 million raise.

Busy for sure, but that might not even be the most important move the Tribe makes this winter.

Francisco Lindor is now two full seasons away from being arbitration eligible. The Tribe offered him a contract in the $100 million neighborhood, but the shortstop declined it. There’s was the thinking LIndor’s apparel deal with New Balance gave him enough cash to play out his rookie contract.

MLB Trade rumors Kyle Downing believes team president Chris Antonetti will try to lock up Lindor again, with the offer being even higher this time around.

"“After another 6-WAR season, he’ll probably cost even more in terms of guaranteed dollars, but with Lindor quickly establishing himself as one of the Tribe’s all-time great shortstops — and arbitration beckoning in the fall of 2018 — this might be the last reasonable chance they have to keep him in Cleveland beyond his age 27 season.”"

There is good news here. Lindor is under team control through the 2022 season, but like Downing pointed out, Lindor will be just 27 when that campaign ends. It’d be a shame to lose a superstar like this.

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Frankly, the Indians have never had a player like this, ever. In just his third season in the big leagues, Lindor, 23, blasted 33 bombs and is a Gold Glove award candidate at short.

Expect the Tribe to give it the ole’ college try, but Lindor might not be singable. It was a little surprising to see him turn down the $100 million offer, which will make it a whole lot less surprising to see him turn down even more money. Believe it. Frankie’s agent knows what his clients worth would be on the open market, and the sooner he gets there, the better for them.

Or, perhaps Lindor will jump at the sight of more guaranteed money. Remember, baseball’s an unforgiving game.

Michael Brantley was criticized for taking a four-year, $25 million after the 2014 season. Think he’s glad he took it now? When he plays, he’s productive, but Brantley’s career has been plagued with injuries.

There’s something to be said about security.

Next: 9 moves the Indians must make this offseason

Enjoy Frankie while he’s here, because he will in fact be here through 2022. Hopefully, the Tribe can tack a few extra years onto that.