Even though the Cleveland Indians appear ready to start this season with Francisco Lindor, the San Diego Padres reportedly still have their eyes on the four-time All-Star.
Per The Athletic's Dennis Lin, the Padres "remain interested" in acquiring Lindor, but "the likelihood of such a deal remains unclear" at this point.
Even though the Indians spent the offseason listening to offers for Lindor, when no suitable deal was offered, team president Chris Antonetti told reporters in January his expectation was the 26-year-old would be with the team to start 2020.
The Padres were one of the teams frequently linked to Lindor during the offseason, though The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal noted in December they were facing a tight payroll situation that could make a deal difficult:
"The current payroll crunch for the Padres is even more severe, likely making it difficult for them to absorb Lindor’s salary unless (general manager A.J.) Preller somehow cleared a chunk the team’s remaining $61 million obligation to outfielder Wil Myers. The website rosterresource.com projects the Padres’ payroll to be $149.5 million. Ownership wants to be under $140 million, sources said."
San Diego already has Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop and Manny Machado at third base. Tatis has been seen in center field at times early in spring training, but manager Jayce Tingler told reporters he won't use the 21-year-old anywhere other than shortstop during games.
Cleveland's front office has been shedding salary since the end of 2018, including dealing Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers in December.
Lindor will earn $17.5 million this season and can become a free agent after the 2021 campaign. He has been named to the American League All-Star team in each of the past four years and owns a .288/.347/.493 slash line in 717 career games.