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Francisco Lindor Suspends Indians Contract Extension Talks: 'I Know My Value'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2020

Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor watches a pitch during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. The Cubs defeated the Indians 8-5. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor is set for arbitration in 2021 and unrestricted free agency in 2022 if he doesn't receive a new contract.

It doesn't look like that will happen anytime soon.

"We had good conversations," he told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic while revealing he and the Indians suspended contract talks to focus on the upcoming 2020 campaign. "We couldn't come up with an agreement. So we put that aside and let's focus on winning."

Lloyd noted there were contract extension talks during the spring despite the lack of a new deal.

"My agent knows my value. I know my value," Lindor said. "But that's something that's a little more private. But I do know what's fair for both sides. I'm aware. I've studied it."

While the negotiations were put on hold, Lloyd pointed out Lindor wants to remain with the only Major League team he has ever known even though his "value is expected to soar past $300 million by the time he reaches free agency."

The shortstop suggested the Indians could pay him what he feels he is worth and still remain competitive in the American League Central with a payroll of $120 million. Cleveland's payroll heading into the 2020 season is approximately $91 million.

Indians CEO Paul Dolan did not exactly seem like someone ready to dish out $300 million contracts when he told Zack Meisel of The Athletic in March 2019, "Probably the day we [hand out a $300 million contract] is when somebody else is doing $1 billion deals."

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Lindor will be 26 years old throughout the 2020 season and is already a four-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger and two-time Gold Glover who helped lead the Indians to the playoffs three straight times from 2016 through 2018. They came within a single win of the 2016 World Series title in a dramatic seven-game loss to the Chicago Cubs.

In 2019, he slashed .284/.335/.518 with 32 home runs, 74 RBI and 22 stolen bases.

Lindor is one of the best young players in the league and someone the Indians could build around for years.

That is, if they are willing to pay him.

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