To Pay or Not to Pay

Indians need to pay up, sign Lindor to long-term deal

Frankie Ceraolo, Guest Writer

Hit Lindor with the money: Lindor’s excellence over the past few years has made him deserving of a hefty extension. Lindor prepares to hit a grand slam during a summer game. Photo by Erik Drost, Wikimedia Commons

The Indians organization has taken pay cut measures way too far. It’s time they pay up for one of their most valuable player. Francisco Lindor deserves his contract extension.

According to Baseball Reference Francisco Lindor is currently earning $10.1 million dollars in 2019. He is Arbitration eligible in 2020 before he hits free agency in 2021. These dollar amounts are still second tier when compared to the contracts of players such as Mike Trout.

Despite this fact, WKYC said that the Indians owner, Paul Dolan told The Athletic, “We control him for three more years. Enjoy him and then we’ll see what happens.”

Lindor’s extension status is unclear but he is looking for a better contract than $100 million with a duration of five years. Lindor has already turned down this extension, however his talent makes him well worth the price. 

In an article by Tome Dorsa of Baseball essential from March 2019, Dorsa lists Lindor at the top of his shortstop rankings.

Dorsa wrote, “Lindor is the clear and untouchable top-ranked shortstop in baseball. Aside from being a microcosm of what baseball should be (fun, competitive, and joyful at all times), Lindor is a freakishly talented player who hits well from both sides of the plate, plays angelic defense, and runs the bases with ease.”

David Adler of ranks Lindor as the fourth best player in the MLB for 2019 in his article from March 2019.

“One of the game’s brightest young stars, Lindor has finished in the top 10 of AL MVP voting in all three of his full seasons. He’s made three straight All-Star teams, won back-to-back Silver Sluggers and is an AL Gold Glove-caliber shortstop, too,” Adler wrote.

These rankings put Lindor well ahead of players who have already received historic contracts. Manny Machado, who is ranked 14 and Bryce Harper, 15, are some of those players.

Assistant varsity baseball coach Joshua Hayes also ranks Lindor right there with players like Machado and Harper. Hayes said,  “I would say [Lindor] is in that same league. He’s gonna get a contract, maybe not as big as those but pretty darn close.” 

Fans like Hayes are irritated that Lindor hasn’t been signed already and are wary of how the situation will turn out.

“I would hope he gets signed; I am just very cautious about that ‘cause I think there’s a chance we wind up losing him. The Indians, kind of [have a history] when talent gets too expensive, not holding on to [the players], so we’ll see,” Hayes said.

Senior Harrison Pallant is a long time Indians fan who believes there is a person behind the Indians past disappointments.

“I blame Dolan, because he has the worst TV deal in the Major Leagues[so it brings in less revenue for the team to spend on players]. He has a history of not willing to pay players and letting them go in free agency,” Pallant said.

Pallant recognizes how an extension would prove the durability of Lindor. “Francisco Lindor deserves an extension because he is a big part of the sports that Cleveland has now. If they want to make the playoffs/championship run they will need Lindor in the field and his bat to carry them to the World Series,” he said.

If players such as Mike Trout can rightfully earn monster contracts based solely on talent, the question remains, why can’t Lindor?

Lindor has not only been one of the best players in the MLB talent wise in recent years, but he has also led the team to success and the playoffs. Lindor has done this in every full year of his career, except 2019 (when he was hurt) while Trout has only led his team to the playoffs once.

In a Call to the Pen article from March, Jake Hansan also ranks Lindor as the best shortstop in the MLB and notes how Lindor’s play has been vital to the team’s success before this year.

Hansan wrote, “Lindor’s excellence has been part of the reason the Indians have been contenders since 2016, and at just 25-years-old he isn’t likely to slow down any time soon.”

Lindor’s youth makes him a valuable player in the future. Hayes recognizes this, but still feels the threat that the Indians will not extend him.

Hayes said, “I mean he’s a franchise shortstop; every big time team has got to build their team up the middle [shortstop and 2nd base position]. So you got to have some stability and reliability there; hopefully we resign him but I’m doubtful.”

Although there is lingering doubt of an extension, Pallant still cites positives like how an extension would reveal Lindor’s longevity. “Lindor will be able to be the team’s starting shortstop for at least the next ten or so years,” he said.

Fans will be disappointed if they have to see Lindor in another uniform. Hayes said, “Oh, it will be tough. They weren’t happy when we let Michael Brantly go and he is out at Houston doing a great job. They weren’t happy about that; it will be way worse; it will be way worse than that.”

Lindor has set himself apart as one of the best players in the MLB. If the Indians fail to present Lindor with a deal fans will be, and should be outraged with the shameful decision. It would be an atrocious choice to lose a generational player who is, and has been, the center of the Indians success.