1. Keep Lindor
Call me crazy, but I really, really, really want to see this organization win a World Series. Tribe fans are entering year 73 of this championship drought and the team’s chances of ending it are better with Francisco Lindor on the roster.
Unfortunately, the way things are being portrayed in the media, ownership is going to be hard pressed to pay his arbitration number, would could be upwards of $18 million for 2021. Forget about an extension. It’s not happening.
There’s no doubt the Indians will listen to offers four the four-time All-Star, as they’ve been doing for the better part of a year and a half.
Unfortunately, there’s probably no “Godfather” type deal awaiting them on the market.
The fan base got a taste of what the market looks like on Aug. 31, when the Indians failed to land a major prospect for front-of-the-rotation arm Mike Clevinger. With the economic uncertainty of COVID-19 hanging over clubs, teams are treasuring prospects more than ever.
So, with Lindor’s trade value diminishing by the day, as he has just one year left until free agency, perhaps the Indians should ride it out with its star player.
Cleveland’s starting pitching is expected to be a strength of this team for the foreseeable future behind Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie. Plus, more help is in the pipeline.
The Indians will contend for a postseason berth again in 2021, and even though Lindor wasn’t playing up to his usual standards, they’re better with him on the roster. His defense is superb and perhaps he snaps out of it in a regular 162-game season.
If they do move on, Yu Chang would probably get the first crack at replacing Lindor. Chang impressed at Summer Camp, but’s been blocked from getting a big-league job. Tyler Freeman is also an exciting prospect, but I don’t see the Indians rushing him in 2021.
Freeman, a second round pick in 2017, is the Tribe’s No .2 prospect. The Indians will likely start him in the minors, rather than sending him off to a cold April start in Cleveland.