Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor trade setting up to be a let down

Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians trade of Francisco Lindor is setting up to be a let down.

The Cleveland Indians still have Francisco Lindor, and that’s led some fans to ask why the four-time All-Star is still on the roster when it’s been such a certainty for the past year he would be traded.

Baseball still faces economic uncertainty in 2021, as it’s unclear when fans will be allowed to attend games. During the World Series, 12,000 fans were allowed for each contest, so look for some fans to pass through the turnstiles at Progressive Field in 2021 (The Browns currently host 12,000 fans per game).

The rest of baseball is different, though. Different states, different laws. In the Blue Jays’ case, you’re dealing with a different country. If Canada’s government forbids Toronto from playing in their home park again, is it really feasible for the organization to take on Lindor at $20 million dollars for next season?

OK, enough business, the return package is what the fans want to know about, and judging by baseball’s early moves, it doesn’t look good.

The dream package is for the Indians to receive a bonafide top prospect who’s ready to take over in the outfield.’s Terry Pluto recently put the spotlight on Josh Bell, a 2019 All-Star the Pirates traded for a Pirmanti Bros. “sammich.” Bell clubbed 37 bombs and hit .371 (936 .OPS) in 2019, but was a “meh” .226 with 10 bombs during the 2020 truncated season.

"“The return was shockingly low: Eddy Yean, who pitched in rookie ball in 2019. The other is Wil Crowe, a 26-year-old who was highly regarded early in his career. But he was 0-2 with an 11.88 ERA for Washington into 2020. He also pitched only 10 games (6.17 ERA) in Class AA,” Pluto wrote."

Comparing Lindor to bell is ridiculous. Frankie is the far better player. That said, he hit a meh .258 (.750 OPS) with eight homers in the weird year of 2020. Some blame the lack of fans for zapping the charismatic’s shortstop’s energy.

The point is that Bell is a force in the middle of the order and the Pirates couldn’t recoup much in return. It’s been written here before: Teams value prospects more than ever, especially with owners hesitant to hand out money to free agents when they can’t invite fans to games.

And while we expect to go to games next season, a labor struggle looms, as the players obviously want to play all 162 games to collect their full paycheck, while owners may look to shorten the campaign, ensuring enough of the population has received the COVID vaccine so that the public will feel safe attending games.

If you covet Lindor, it’s just good business to wait one more season to land the former Gold Glove winner, when he’s a free agent. In theory, things will be more normal in the summer of 2022 and he can be had for cold, hard cash–no prospects. Fans will be attending games, the public will be looking to get out and attend baseball games. Owners just might not sweat the risk as much.

Next. 4 Browns whose stock is down after Jets disaster. dark

Circumstances couldn’t be any worse for the Indians to trade their superstar. I still think he’ll be traded because ownership has shown no signs of wanting to pay anyone anything when it comes to payroll. However, fans are likely to be greatly disappointed with the return.