Another way the title for this post to be reworded might be, “Unpopular Opinion: Lindor’s Gotta Go.” Because the truth of it is, if I stood in front of a room of 100 Indians fans and said this, they would likely drown me out with a chorus of nasty words and boos.
But, the fact remains: it is currently in the Indians’ best interest to trade Francisco Lindor away now, before Opening Day, for a multitude of reasons. Let’s have a look at these reasons:
1. His value is easily at its peak right now
Not entering a contract year means that Lindor’s prospective team would get his services for at least two full seasons. Even if such a team didn’t have plans to lock him for tons of years at a ludicrously expensive contract, getting the best shortstop in baseball on your team for two years would be no joke, considering how much the position is at a premium. A team looking to lay down all the chips for this year, such as the Brewers, might take a look at Lindor. This will increase the haul the Indians eventually get, even if the vast majority of said haul will just be in some other team’s uniform in roughly five years.
2. The Indians’ championship window is pretty much closed
With the inability (unwillingness) to spend money to field a decently competitive ball club, in turn leading to an over-reliance on the team’s farm system that is simply not going to let the team be consistently competitive, there is no feasible way that the Indians will end up as strong contenders to win a World Series anytime soon. The Yankees’ pitching staff is now bloated, following the signing of Gerrit Cole, the Astros aren’t going anywhere and the Twins and White Sox are ready to engage in a battle for the AL Central, one the Indians’ talent deprived roster will likely not contest them too much for. With nothing to truly gain from having Lindor on the team, one has to wonder what the team has to lose by delaying such a trade and causing his value to decay. This, unfortunately, leads to the two biggest reasons why the Indians should trade Lindor…
3. The Dolans are the cheapest owners in sports
4. Collectively, Indians fans are the biggest idiots in baseball and trading Lindor might help with this a little bit
If it wasn’t abundantly clear by now, the Dolans have absolutely zero interest in doing their part to make the Indians into a truly class organization. Threatening to cut back payroll even more after an extremely depressing offseason last year, it is clear that, barring a Unicorn-esque miracle, the Indians will never enjoy serious success while being owned by the Dolans. While we don’t expect a small market team to go throw 324 million dollars at a single player, it isn’t unreasonable for a contending-hopeful team to spend some money on proven talent who will actually help them win some games. Trading for an aging veteran and crossing our fingers he’ll have a random breakout season is far from a good way to do this.
The fact that a moderately significant amount of Indians fans bother turning up to games to support a terrible ownership like this is proof in itself that, collectively, this fanbase is quite seriously dumb as a bag of rocks. Cleveland Browns fans over the years haven’t been much better, but at least there was an entire protest against the front office and the team seems interested in at least trying to eventually win games. For the Indians, they deliberately cut bait with influential players in Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes and Michael Brantley last year, made practically no effort to replace that production and seems ready to cut the team down by even more this offseason. If you spend money on tickets to an Indians game, you are openly declaring that you don’t care that the team only sees you as a mindless money drone, not having the decency to care about how they represent the city of Cleveland with an extremely low budget team on the field every day.
How does this link to a reason why the Indians should trade Lindor?
Maybe if they trade their best player by a mile for a bunch of prospects who will be in some other team’s uniform in five years, Indians fans will retaliate by hitting the Dolans in their wallets. Or, maybe Terry Francona will replace Lindor with a popcorn vendor and still find a way to draw 90 wins out of this proverbial stone.