Which player can the Indians lean on in the shortened, 60-game season?
Rob Manfred has imposed a 60-game season for the 2020 MLB campaign, and the players are set to comply. While this season will be in a much different format than we are used to, it will be nice to watch baseball this summer.
The baseball played in 2020 will still resemble the game we fell in love with. And, for fans, it will be a joy to see their favorite teams try to compete for a World Series.
With the current structure, we may see more teams have a chance to play playoff baseball with the limited season. Especially those clubs who might be watching their window shut, like the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians have seen a lot of change since they were playing in an iconic seventh game of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. However, the heart of the team remains in Cleveland for the time being, and that player is Francisco Lindor.
Why is Francisco Lindor the Cleveland Indians most important player in 2020?
Sometimes, the answer to a question such as “who is the club’s most important player this season?” can be a lot easier than you think. Any way you look at it, Lindor impacts the team greatly.
Lindor is perhaps the best shortstop in baseball. He is a four-time All-Star, and he has two Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers a piece, and a Platinum Glove. He is a defensive wizard and a dynamic, productive top of the order switch hitter. In short, he affects the outcome of a lot of games.
Since 2017, Lindor’s average season has been 34 home runs and 85 RBI, and his career slash line is .288/.347/.493. He is a slugging shortstop who plays arguably the best defense for his position in the league.
However, Lindor playing baseball for the Indians in 2020 impacts the team in two ways. Of course, he will play for the team and hopefully propel them into the playoffs. But, he will bolster his trade stock if he has another All-Star-level campaign.
The harsh reality is that the Indians probably will not shell out the large sum of money it would take to keep Lindor in town for the future. And, Lindor might want to test the open market when given the chance. His final season of arbitration is 2021, which means the club will no longer control him and he will hit free agency after that season. He wishes to stay in Cleveland, but he might be priced out of the team’s range.
So, Lindor will help the Indians win ballgames in 2020, but will also help bring a package to build around when the team likely trades him. His importance is exceedingly high for not only this year but the future of the organization as well.