As we all hugged our loved ones and gazed into the blinding light of the impending Francisco Lindor trade, only one thing truly mattered: Don’t trade Mike Clevinger. That was also a stupid idea. Turns out, trading Francisco Lindor probably wasn’t a great idea, either.
It would appear that we’re now safe, for now. The explosion we saw was just a thousand leaks formed into a brilliant illusion. Since teams were supposedly asked to turn in their best offers over the weekend, we’ve seen no action on the trade rumor front, and the Indians have even managed to do something positive when they signed César Hernández early in the week.
Does that mean we’re out of the woods now? Are the Indians actually going to hold onto their best player while they’re still in a window to win? I’m still not ready to relax yet.
Signing Hernández was a great sign, to be sure. If the Indians had a deal lined up to deal Lindor for some kind of second base and/or shortstop help — the two positions they would need the most without him — it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to spend $6.25 million on Hernández. He’s a fine second baseman coming off a down year, but he has a recent history of being adequate on offense and providing enough defense to overcome the fact that he struggles to be more than a single machine. He’s a good player, and the type of player that the Indians can actually afford within their owner’s imposed budget. He’s also the type of player that you probably don’t pay $6 million to be a backup.
Optimistically, that’s why the Indians wanted to receive final offers and be done with it. They didn’t really have any intention of trading away Lindor prior to 2020, but they were stuck in a state of limbo if they truly wanted to do their due diligence and at least hope a team would dramatically overpay and make it worth their while. And while they were waiting, they couldn’t really sign a player when a better replacement was right around the trade corner, lest they be forced to actually field a fully-funded roster.
If signing Hernández was a sort of signal that Indians fans can take a deep breathe and hold off on pretending to burn their Francisco Lindor jerseys, then the next logical step would be to confirm him for Tribefest next month. I wouldn’t fret about this one too much, to be honest. Lindor has been a port of Tribefest dating back to 2013 when he was just an up-and-coming prospect. It’s tempting to be worried that the Indians haven’t announced him as confirmed for the event yet, but he’s gone as far as January before being announced before. If for some weird reason you chose Tribefest announcements as your tipping point, don’t worry.
As it stands right now, Francisco Lindor appears to be on track to be with the Indians come Opening Day. Which, to be fair, is what the Indians front office said they expected all offseason.
They theoretically still have money to work with following the Corey Kluber trade and there are still plenty of potential upgrades out there. But if, heaven forbid, we’re looking at the final 2020 Indians roster with no further additions, we’re looking at a lineup that features a lot of on-base potential and an infield consisting entirely of switch-hitters.
- SS: Francisco Lindor
- CF: Oscar Mercado
- 1B: Carlos Santana
- 3B: José Ramírez
- DH: Franmil Reyes
- 2B: César Hernández
- LF: Jake Bauers
- C: Roberto Pérez
- RF: Greg Allen
If they maintain that setup for at least 75 games, they’d be the first team to do so since the 1965 Dodgers.
More importantly, if the Indians enter Opening Day with Francisco Lindor in their lineup, they’ll be the only team to have Francisco Lindor for the sixth-straight season. How sweet it is.