While we await the return of baseball to Northeast Ohio more chatter regarding the contract status of Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor came to the forefront in what some would suggest is one of the least likely of sources. That is not a criticism of The Athletic’s Keith Law, but he has hardly been a Cleveland Indians apologist.
Many listeners and followers of 92.3 the Fan were critical of Keith Law’s appearance. Law is not around pat the Dolan’s on the back or provide any good public relations for them. He is a respected journalist with a long reputation with ESPN and now The Athletic. In fact, Law has been openly critical of the Indians organization for the use of the Chief Wahoo logo and the name of the club itself.
This isn’t the first time rumors have floated that Lindor has been unwilling to negotiate a deal with the Tribe. It does come at a bad time for obvious reasons. Financial constraints tied to lack of overall revenue for Major League clubs will likely cause several teams to cut their future payrolls as a means to offset the lost revenue.
ESPN’s Buster Olney recently tweeted:
The indication team(s) will likely be cutting their payrolls over the next few seasons in an effort to offset their financial losses from this season is hardly a surprise. There’s no indication Olney was referring to the Indians here. Matter of fact, they are one of the hardest clubs to get any sort of information from. This said it could be we see the Indians continue to downsize the payroll in the coming season.
The Indians have downsized payroll in recent years with Law’s recent comments in mind it is possible this was an effort to save on the front end to offset the financial expenditures on the backend of a long-term deal. Law’s comments can be found here.
With the consideration that the Indians have paired back payroll in recent years in what appears to have been a fruitless effort to keep one of the stars of the game may have been a blessing in disguise. These savings may be the bridge to financial security that provides stability for a smaller market organization like the Indians that receives revenue sharing.
Obviously, it is painful for Tribe fans to think of Mr.Smile in another jersey but it has always been a reality that fans would have to face at some point. Players come and players go for numerous reasons, it is part of the game, but the memories and special moments will live on in Indians history.
With Law’s report in mind combined with the uncertainty of the season ahead could the Indians look to deal one of their most valuable trade commodities?
In some regard, entertaining trade offers would be wise. Looking ahead to this fall and winter with other clubs likely reducing salaries and moving talented players for younger cheaper talent will the Indians be able to get anything more than pennies on the dollar?
There’s potential the market could be flooded with acquirable talent. It seems unlikely teams would be willing to meet the Indians astronomical price for the face of the organization. With other players that could be dealt like Brad Hand, for example, reducing the payroll significantly could go other directions. The Indians should not accept anything less than the value they place on one of the games brightest stars. So, keeping Lindor may mean letting him walk and netting the extraordinary value (along with a compensation draft pick) he brings the club on the diamond.