Cleveland Indians, Francisco Lindor set March deadline in contract talks

The Cleveland Indians and All-Star Francisco Lindor are reportedly talking about a new contract, setting a deadline to end talks for sometime in March.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance. That the message out of the Arizona desert, as the Cleveland Indians and Francisco Lindor are reportedly talking about a multi-year contract extension.

The two sides have set a deadline for sometime in March. The Indians open the season March 26 at Progressive Field, but Lindor has set the deadline to get something done is “Early March,” according to Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes.

It’s good news, because I think the perceptions surrounding the two sides that the only negotiations the Indians were involved in had to do with trading Lindor before he hits free agency following the 2021 season.

Signing Lindor still has to be a long shot, until the Dolan family proves to its fan base it can land a really big fish. They surprised with Edwin Encarnacion a few years back, but even then, EE was signed to a club friendly deal the Indians helped payoff with the cashflow coming in from their World Series run in 2016.

Getting Lindor to agree to a pact still seems like a long shot because he’s arguably one of the top five position players in baseball.

Mike Trout notoriously signed a 12-year $430 million deal with the Angels, while Bryce Harper signed a 13-year $330 million deal with Philadelphia. World Series champ Anthony. Rendon just signed a seven-year $240 million pact with the Angels.

Indians’ president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said that the Indians are open to different payment structures, with the Tribe’s baseball boss adding that he though Lindor was as well.

What’s this all mean? For example, the Indians could defer money and Lindor could be making money from the Tribe into his 50s, a la Bobby Bonilla and the Mets.

Perhaps this would take some of the burden off the Dolans. The family is already the longest tenured ownership entity in Indians’ history. It doesn’t seem like they’ll be selling the club soon, but 10 years down the road? Who knows?

Perhaps they view a deferment schedule as a way as passing the buck down the line. Again, nothing reported on this, but just speculating, because otherwise, I don’t know how they’d get Lindor to sign for anything close to his market value.

Stay tuned on this one as the Tribe heads into March, but don’t get your hopes up too, high. I don’t know when Lindor will play for his last game for the Tribe, but my guess is he won’t be hear after 2021. But hey, I’d love to be wrong.