In the court of public opinion, players rarely come out on top. Maybe it’s started to shift in recent years, but for the majority of history players have been seen as the greedy ones driving up prices and demanding more money from those poor cash-strapped teams. At least that’s how “Larry from Wichita who will just hang up and listen” makes it sound when he calls in to yell at a local radio station.
That’s not the case with Francisco Lindor. While the Indians stumble through their second-straight offseason of PR misfire after PR misfire, Lindor is playing the Indians organization like a fiddle in the media and it is a sight to behold. Perfectly balancing his desire to stay in Cleveland with subtle nods towards the ineptitude of ownership, Frankie is doing everything off the field just as well as he does on it.
Despite the fact that he is, quite literally, just holding out for more money, he has set himself up in such a way that he is going to come out the winner in Cleveland’s eyes, even after he leaves for that gigantic payday he has every right to.
Speaking at this year’s Tribe Fest, which is happening now at the Huntington Convention Center, he continued a course that he started at last year’s All-Star break. An all out assault on our hearts, where he professes nothing but love for the city of Cleveland and the desire to return, should the team that drafted him bother to pony up the money and years.
“Because they haven’t offered me the right thing,” the four-time All-Star said at the Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland. “We want to make sure we get paid for a long time. We want to be in this game for a long time. Do I feel like when I’m 37, am I going to be down with my playing level? No, I don’t think so. The way I work, and the way we all work, I’d don’t think we’re going to be down. I don’t think our production numbers will be down just because we’re 37.”
“I would love to be in Cleveland. I love Cleveland. This is a home,” he said with his patented smile. “This is a great city. There are great fans and we’ve got a good team and a great group of guys. The front office is good. The coaching staff is good. Everybody, the clubbies, everybody that’s involved with the Indians’ organization — it’s great and I love it here. This is where I came up and I’m extremely comfortable here.”
In case you were confused about whether or not he knows the Indians are slashing payroll, he most certainly is aware.
“Our payroll last year was ($120 million). There’s money,” Lindor said. “Is it what the Indians are trying to do? Who knows? It’s different. But there’s money out there. There are no teams out there with $10 million payrolls. There’s money.”
Of course the money is there, Frankie. Of course it is.
He also goes on to say he’s not “money driven” but “championship driven” which is probably true until a half dozen Brinks trucks pull up and drop off a half-billion in cash (or however these transactions go, I’m just guessing). But, hell, more power to him. He may very well love Cleveland, or it might just be another city that allows him to play the game he loves and make boat loads money. Either way, he’s done his half of the bargain in giving his all to the city and the organization, and now it’s the Indians’ turn to return the favor and keep him in that city and organization as long as they can.