GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Francisco Lindor didn’t want to discuss money or his future. This certainly wasn’t the time.
Just days after the four-time All-Star shortstop and Gold Glove winner broke off talks with the Cleveland Indians about a long-term contract extension so he could focus on an upcoming season now further away, Lindor spoke passionately Thursday about hope and humanity.
Shortly after Lindor spoke at the team’s training facility, Major League Baseball announced its pushing opening day back two weeks and immediately suspending spring training games.
“It kind of seems like the contract thing is very little compared to what’s happening,” said Lindor said. “Hopefully, we can get through this situation we’re going through right now. To all the people with health issues, the contract doesn’t matter.”
Earlier this week, Lindor suspended negotiations with Cleveland, which would like to sign the 26-year-old but may have no other option but to trade him later this season.
Team president Chris Antonetti said the club made an “earnest effort” to reach an agreement with Lindor before the sides decided to table their talks.
Lindor has been open about a willingness to stay with the Indians, but any personal business has become secondary in light of the pandemic.
The Indians were scheduled to open the season at home on March 26. Now, everything is on hold.
The new reality has hit Lindor hard, and made him appreciative.
“We are talking about what’s going on in the world a lot,” Lindor said. “Everybody is bringing something different about it on Instagram or twitter. Everybody is concerned. Everybody is trying to be safe. It could get tough. We realize it could affect everyone of us, no matter who you are.
“You continue to do all the things that prevent it. You pray for the people that have it.”
The recent events have affected Lindor, who hopes that some good can come out of a bad situation. He’s mindful that lives are at risk.
“We hope we can find something that will stop this,” he said. “We want to be smart. It is nothing personal to the fans. We all love the fans but there won’t be no handshakes, or autographs. We have to protect them. They have to protect us. It is the smartest thing we can all do.
“Society can get together and help each other out. Out of this hopefully we can get something positive. We can all be in a much better spot when we can all take care of each other. At times we seem like we are not at peace with each other. I think now we have a really good chance of looking out for each other.”
Indians manager Terry Francona said Lindor has been showing Cleveland’s young players — and veterans — what it takes to be a pro during camp.
“Frankie’s energy out of the box this spring, has been 100 percent every single time,” Francona said. “To me that’s leadership. Those types of things show me that regardless of what he may be thinking about, talked about or didn’t talk about, he is going to take care of business.”