The Indians do not need to rush into a Francisco Lindor trade.
The superstar shortstop has one more year of team control in 2021 before hitting free agency that winter. He is expected to get a mega-deal worth well over $300 million. The Indians have reportedly made offers, but nothing in a range that interests Lindor.
Thus, he is expected to be traded at some point before the conclusion of the 2021 season. The 2020 trade deadline arrives August 31 and Lindor could be a hot commodity. However, the Indians need to make one last run and not even consider trading him until the offseason.
No rush to move Francisco Lindor during a short season
The general impression is that the Indians aren’t going to break the bank for Lindor. The team has a history of moving top players for prospects, and that has worked out well in the past. The Indians acquired the likes of Grady Sizemore, Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana and others through such trades.
If 2020 were a normal year, it would make more sense to move Lindor during the year. Teams desperate to win a World Series would be more open to handing over top prospects, as is customary in such deals.
But the 2020 postseason and World Series have a different feel. There is still uncertainty in how the entire operation will go if there is no bubble. So why would a team send over several top prospects to potentially not even have Lindor for a 2020 race? Even if everything goes smoothly, this is not a traditional year. The Indians could easily get a similar haul of prospects by waiting until the offseason when we will hopefully be planning for a normal 2021 season.
The Indians should also focus on the baseball aspect of this over strictly the business side. The team nearly won it all in 2016 before having disappointing postseason exits in 2017 and 2018. Then the team missed the postseason entirely in 2019.
Now the Indians just need to finish second in a weak American League Central division to get into the postseason. There is also a chance to make it in if they finish third.
Lindor is the most talented player on a team currently slashing .195/.303/.293. Even with those horrific numbers the Indians still have a 10-9 record and are only two games out of first place.
The roster getting any worse could doom the chances of not only making the playoffs but of scoring runs in general. Lindor has driven in 10 of the team’s 62 total runs so far.
The team may as well make one last run at a title before throwing in the towel during a season that is entirely up for grabs. Trading Lindor in the offseason with a full season of team control remaining will be similar to what the Boston Red Sox did with Mookie Betts. The return there still featured several top prospects and the same should be true with Lindor.