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Francisco Lindor and Cleveland Indians avoid arbitration with $17.5 million deal

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UPDATE: Mike Clevinger, Tyler Naquin, Nick Wittgren, and Delino DeShields also reached deals with the team

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians and SS Francisco Lindor avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $17.5 million contract this afternoon according to a report from Emojiman.

Prior estimates put a likely Lindor arbitration salary at $16.7 million, though a million dollars here or there for one of the best players in all of baseball feels irrelevant (at least to me). This is also due to the fact that there aren’t many good comparisons for a player of Lindor’s singular talents. He completed his fifth season in the majors and posted at least 4 fWAR in each. He slashed .284/.335/.518 with 32 home runs while playing an excellent defensive shortstop at age 26. That offensive output was a step back from his 2018 numbers, due partially to the time he missed at the beginning of the year due to injury.

The deal doesn’t preclude the possibility of the Indians trading Lindor, but this, plus the official announcement of his attendance at Tribe Fest point to trade talks being tabled for the time being.

The Indians also reached one-year deals with OF Tyler Naquin ($1.45 million), OF Delino DeShields ($1.875 million), and RP Nick Wittgren ($1.125 million).

SP Mike Clevinger is the other arbitration-eligible player on the Indians roster, and as of publishing time Let’s Go Tribe was unaware of any finalized deal. MLB Trade Rumors suggests that Clevinger may earn $4.5 million next year if the case goes to arbitration. He, too, represents a tricky case due to missed time and his somewhat advanced age for his first arbitration.

This post will update to reflect additional information as it becomes available.

UPDATE:

Mike Clevinger reached an agreement with the Indians right before the 5:00 PM deadline.

And with that, the Indians avoid arbitration once again.