Francisco Lindor, Indians Agree to $17.5 Million Contract to Avoid Arbitration

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2020

Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor warms up before the start of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Cleveland Indians and superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor reportedly avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal Friday. 

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Lindor will make $17.5 million plus additional awards in 2020. Heyman added that Lindor's salary is the second-highest ever for a second-time arbitration-eligible player.

Lindor is also arbitration-eligible next year, and he can then become a free agent following the 2021 season.

The 26-year-old Lindor has been the subject of trade rumors due to the notion that Cleveland will be unable or unwilling to sign him to a long-term deal, but Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti told Cleveland.com's Paul Hoynes this week that he has "every expectation" that Lindor will be their Opening Day shortstop.

If that is the case and Lindor remains with the team throughout the 2020 season, then the Indians will have a legitimate chance to win the American League Central despite going 93-69 and missing the playoffs last season.

Even though Cleveland fell short of its goal in 2019, Lindor had another highly productive season. He hit .284 with 32 home runs, 74 RBI and 101 runs scored, and stole 22 bases as well. Lindor was named an All-Star for the fourth year in a row and extended his 30-homer streak to three straight seasons as well.


Francisco Lindor with the INCREDIBLE play for the @Indians https://t.co/Kc0LvAVo3V

Lindor also won his second career Gold Glove last season, plus he is a two-time Silver Slugger award winner in five MLB seasons.

Although his numbers dropped a bit last season, it is partly due to the fact that he missed the start of the season due to injury. His 598 at-bats were his fewest since his rookie season in 2015, but he was still among the elite shortstops in MLB.

Lindor showed what he could do with a full allotment of at-bats in 2018, as he hit .277 with a career-high 38 home runs, 92 RBI, 129 runs and 25 steals.

Whether it is with the Indians or another team, Lindor's five-tool ability is going to land him a massive contract in the near future provided he is able to remain healthy and productive as expected.

The $17.5 million deal for 2020 is solid compensation for now, but if his upward trajectory continues, it will be dwarfed in the near future.