Report: Indians, Lindor suspend contract extension talks

Posted at 9:33 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 21:33:17-04

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor has suspended talks with the Cleveland Indians about a new contract so he can focus on the upcoming season.

Lindor told The Athletic on Monday that the sides have had “good conversations” but couldn’t come up with an agreement.

“So we put that aside and let’s focus on winning,” said Lindor, who will make $17.5 million this season and is under the team’s contractual control through the 2021 season.

The Indians have been up front about their eagerness to sign the 26-year-old Lindor to a long-term deal. He has developed into one of baseball’s brightest young stars and best all-around players. The small-market team, however, may never be able to reach a dollar figure that will satisfy Lindor.

The popular Puerto Rico native has said he wants to stay in Cleveland to help the Indians win a World Series and he hopes the team will figure out a way financially to keep him. But the reality is that the Indians can’t afford to invest so much money into one player and remain competitive.

Team president Chris Antonetti is expected to address Lindor’s situation on Wednesday at the team’s training complex. The Indians are off Tuesday.

It’s possible the sides could resume talks at some point during the upcoming season. There’s also a chance the Indians could decide to trade Lindor before the July deadline if they don’t start well and fall behind in the AL Central.

When Milwaukee signed former NL MVP outfielder Christian Yelich to a nine-year, $215 million contract last week, the deal raised hope among Indians fans that Cleveland could get something similar done with Lindor. However, Lindor’s price appears to be much higher.

“My agent knows my value, I know my value. But that’s something that’s a little more private,” Lindor told The Athletic without offering any specifics about the talks with the Indians. “But I do know what’s fair for both sides. I’m very aware. I’ve studied it.”

His agent, David Meter, did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press.

A dangerous leadoff hitter because of his speed and power, Lindor batted .284 with 32 homers and 74 RBIs last season. He added 22 steals and won a Gold Glove.