Per MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Indians president Chris Antonetti said his "expectation" is Lindor "will be the shortstop Opening Day next year." Heyman noted this was despite "a lot of trade calls" coming in.
Antonetti's comments come after MLB.com's Jon Morosi reported multiple MLB executives believe at least one of Lindor, Mookie Betts and Kris Bryant will be dealt this offseason.
Cleveland is entering a difficult position with Lindor, who is going into his second year of arbitration in 2020. Per Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, the four-time All-Star is projected to make $16.7 million next season.
The Indians often operate under strict financial conditions, with their $134.9 million mark in 2018 being the highest in franchise history. Their payroll next season is projected to be $105.1 million, per Baseball Reference.
If the Indians want to maximize a return for Lindor, dealing him now, two years away from free agency, would likely be the best way to do it. Their current roster, though, is still in prime position to compete for a playoff spot in the American League.
Cleveland missed the playoffs this past season for the first time since 2015, but the team still won 93 games and has two No. 1 starting pitchers in Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger.
Lindor has been the Indians' anchor since making his MLB debut in 2015. The 25-year-old is a two-time Gold Glove winner, has hit at least 32 homers in each of the past three seasons and owns a .288/.347/.493 slash line in 717 career games.