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Francisco Lindor is already declining

... and other hot takes from the Let’s Go Tribe community.

Cleveland Indians v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Every week once in a while I ask for your sizzling hot takes on Twitter and Facebook so we can argue about them because arguing is fun. This is the Hot Take Corner.

Hopefully you can understand the sacrifice I’m making in clickbaiting the bajeezus out of this post. As a noted best friend, two-time interviewer of Francisco Lindor, I can only hope he will click past the headline and see that it is those mean Twitter users, not his best friend Matthew R. Lyons, that is saying his plate discipline will continue to slip and lead into an early decline.

I’m going to be optimistic here and say that Lindor’s troubles were mostly the result of pressing and trying to carry the team. A good coach might have been able to curb that, but if Lindor can stay healthy all season, José Ramírez doesn’t begin the year in t̶̺̫͚̖̻̺͛̀̿̊͝h̨̧̼̦͉̥͈̼͛̀̂̃͋͆̏͢e̜̪͓͙̞̱̘͂̌͋̎̃͢ v̴̛̼͓̤͙̆̀͒͑͐́̔͜͠o̧͓̼̹̤̜̟̩͔̼̊́̇̓̅̾̋̕͝ĩ̛̘̻̤̦͕̮̈́͛̌̒̿̇̾d̨͕̘̦͉͚͈̩̹͛̐̿͂̈́͢͞͠, and Franmil Reyes can hit, I don’t think Lindor will feel as much pressure to swing and try to kill everything as much as he did in 2019.

One does not even have to dig too deep into the numbers to see it, either. Last season, Lindor set a new career-high in overall swing rate (51.1%) and swings outside the zone (35.6%), despite his contact rate not taking much of a dip. He was just chasing more, trying to do too much, and it resulted in the worst strikeout rate (15.0%) and walk rate (7.0%) since his rookie year.

He might also just need a day off once in a while, which of course he is against. If only there were someone to dictate that he takes one off. Someone to manage him, perhaps.

Of course, if only because getting equal value back for a player like Lindor (or Betts or Bryant, for that matter) is nearly impossible. I don’t know if I like the idea of unloading the farm just to get one of them, though. I would much rather prefer to stick around the edges of value with trades, and I think it’s pretty obvious the Indians feel the same way.

Besides, Anthony Rendon is right there.

Absolutely, if only because he’s not going to command nearly as much money as it seemed like he would a couple years ago when he was rattling off MVP-caliber seasons. He’s a very good offensive player with little range and a rocket arm. And he’s fun as hell.

MLB Trade Rumors sees Puig getting ridiculously low-balled in free agency, essentially taking a cheaper version of Josh Donaldson’s “bet on himself” contract last season. If the Indians actually let the Tigers get him for the projected one-year, $8 million deal I’m going to be Mad Online.

He loved Cleveland, Cleveland loved him. Bring him back. He’s instantly the best oufielder and one of the team’s biggest offensive threats.

José is clearly the better purely offensive player when he’s not trapped in t̶̺̫͚̖̻̺͛̀̿̊͝h̨̧̼̦͉̥͈̼͛̀̂̃͋͆̏͢e̜̪͓͙̞̱̘͂̌͋̎̃͢ v̴̛̼͓̤͙̆̀͒͑͐́̔͜͠o̧͓̼̹̤̜̟̩͔̼̊́̇̓̅̾̋̕͝ĩ̛̘̻̤̦͕̮̈́͛̌̒̿̇̾d̨͕̘̦͉͚͈̩̹͛̐̿͂̈́͢͞͠, but you can’t just discount Lindor’s otherworldly defense and leadership in the clubhouse. For those reasons alone, if it comes down the question of picking one to build a team around, I choose Lindor. But you can’t go wrong either way.

Sure, winning is fun. But have you tried pAyRoLl fLeXiBiLiTy.

This isn’t even a hot take. The bigger hot take is that Lofton shouldn’t be in the Hall, which is dead wrong. Easily one of the biggest snubs this century. He was mostly the victim of bad timing, and as he asserts, PED cheaters taking his spot.

I don’t think a campaign would do much for him at this point, but he absolutely deserves to be there and I will fight anyone. He deserves it much, much more than Omar.

Butterfly effect and all that, so maybe Asdrúbal Cabrera doesn’t have quite the offense year he had if he was on the Indians all season, but ... yeah. Probably. He was pretty abysmal with the Rangers early on, with a .235/.318/.393 slash, but once he got sent to a team in the thick of the playoff race — the Nationals — he had a 145 wRC+ in his final 38 games. Maybe that’s something to do with the Nationals coaching staff, or maybe Asdrúbal was just bored losing in Texas. Who’s to say he wouldn’t have been great for a competitive team like the Indians all season?

And it pains me to say it, but even his poor start with the Rangers wasn’t much worse than Jason Kipnis’s full season stats with the Indians.

That’s the dream, right? Maybe he feels more comfortable the second time around, getting the call and full confidence of his manager right out of the gate and he doesn’t strike out 40.8% of the time and starts mashing those huge dingers we know he can hit. Unfortunately, it feels like the Franmil Reyes trade was a real sign that the Indians didn’t believe Bradley would be the future DH stud he’s looked like at times in the minors. At the very least, I doubt we’ll see much of him until 2021 when Carlos Santana walks as a free agent (again).

Jerry Sands is only 32, it’s not too late. Just saying.

Oh, absolutely. He was unhittable in those two starts before his back began to betray him. 22 strikeouts in 12 innings, two total hits — the man was on a mission. He rushed back from the injury, had a few rough games, and still finished tied for the second-lowest ERA- (56), the fifth highest strikeout rate (33.9%), and second-lowest home runs per nine innings (0.71) among pitchers with at least 120 innings pitched.

He was overshadowed by Shane Beiber’s full season of incredible pitching, but honestly he wasn’t that far behind. Here’s my own hot take: Bieber-Clevinger is going to ascend higher than Kluber-Carrasco ever did. Having all four of them at the same time is absolutely absurd.

I mean ... sure? And only because there are no sure things in the outfield right now. I trust Daniel Johnson and his *checks notes* zero MLB at-bats just as much as I do Greg Allen or Bradley Zimmer. The only thing standing in his way is the Indians believing in Oscar Mercado’s ability to play center everyday. If they do, welcome to the corner outfield, Daniel.

Our own Alex Hooper tried to warn us about the White Sox, but we didn’t listen. Now they are clearly positioning themselves to compete this season or next. I learned my lesson last offseason to not be too confident in the other AL Central teams continuing to be duds, and hopefully the Indians did too. If not, finishing third is a real possibility.

Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, and Tim Anderson are all legit studs, and now with Yasmani Grandal in the mix you could argue they have a better offense than the Indians. Pitching is their biggest question mark, but it was with the Twins last year too and it didn’t stop them from running away with the division.