Christian Yelich is about to be paid by the Milwaukee Brewers, but all this does is put pressure on the Cleveland Indians to get a deal done with Francisco Lindor.
The Cleveland Indians are about to be one-upped by the Milwaukee Brewers. Rumors broke late Tuesday afternoon that the Brewers were working on a seven-year extension, worth about $30 million a year. The deal adds on to Christian Yelich’s two years remaining, keeping him in a Brewers’ uniform until he’s 37. Long term deals in baseball are toxic and franchise destroying, but don’t tell that to the Indians faithful, who want to see Francisco Lindor inked to a deal very similar to Yelich’s.
The fanbase and city have treated the Indians like the red-headed stepchild of the Cleveland sports for nearly twenty years, and interest and support for the club have fallen drastically from the end of the last century. This despite the fact the team has had its highest payrolls ever, and it’s best-prolonged stretch of success in decades.
Now with the Yelich deal, the fans will simply point to this as another reason why they don’t support the club like they claim they would if the Dolans just made an investment in Lindor.
Let’s be clear, Lindor shouldn’t go anywhere. The fans want him, the club wants him, and Lindor loves the city. It’s a perfect fit, but the deal he’s probably asking for is the kind of contract that kills organizations. The Boston Red Sox, who have more money than God, cut payroll because of all the bad deals they gave out. The Los Angeles Angles have failed to capitalize on the best player in the Majors, and maybe ever, with Mike Trout due to their cash strapped payroll. The Yankees are stuck paying Giancarlo Stanton until he’s 38, and he’s already starting to break down health-wise. The San Diego Padres are paying $32 million a year for a sub .260 hitter with Manny Machado.
That Bryce Harper sure worked out great, for the Nationals that is. The best players in baseball are on some of the worst teams, and there’s a reason for that. These deals are not conducive to building a winner.
The pressure to get a lopsided deal done is now on more than ever, and it’s just not fair. Fans don’t seem to care about the long term health of the organization. All they want is to see their favorites stay, even if it’s not what’s best for the club.
A five year, $30-odd million deal is fair, I think, for Lindor but it’s entirely unlikely that his agents will think that. The Indians should absolutely not give him seven, eight or even ten years. No player ever lives up to that type of contract. The Yelich signing now forces the Indians to either kowtow to peer pressure, sign Lindor to wild contract and be unable to put a winning product on the field, or stay true to their business model and continue to see fans walk away.
It’s not fair that so many fans have given up on such a well ran organization but that’s just the world we live in today.