CLEVELAND — In the early hours Thursday morning, the Cleveland Indians' 2020 season came to an end with a 10-9 loss to the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Series. So too may have Francisco Lindor's time in Cleveland, with the 4-time All-Star shortstop admitting he's considered that he may have played his final game with the Indians.
"It has crossed my mind because a lot of you guys have mentioned it," Lindor said during a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday. "I haven't really sat back and thought about it. But if I said it hasn't crossed my mind, I'd be lying because on social media, everybody, that's all they talk about and that's what you have been talking about for the past year. Yeah, it has crossed my mind. I haven't really thought about it deeply about it enough to say, 'Wow, this actually could be my last game.'"
Lindor's not wrong that discussions of his future in Cleveland have dated all the way back to the conclusion of the 2019 campaign. With the 2-time Silver Slugger only under contract through the 2021 season, many figured the Indians may try to trade their franchise player rather than risk losing him for nothing.
Although rumors persisted, no deal ever came to fruition, either in the form of a trade or a contract extension. Asked if he thought it was fair for so many to speculate about his future considering Cleveland's track record of trading star players before they hit free agency, Lindor admitted that the discussion has been justified.
"It's not a surprise. It makes sense," Lindor said. "It is what it is. You can't cover the sky with one hand. It makes sense. It's the reputation this organization has. It is what it is. On the other hand, I can't control the future. I can't control the moves this organization makes. What I do control is how happy I am and how hard I work."
Asked if he believes the Indians should spend more than it has in recent years, the 26-year-old let out a laugh.
"I think the team does an outstanding job when it comes to drafting and developing players. I've seen when they have spent money and we have lost in the first round too. I've seen when they have kept their hands in their pockets and we have lost in the first round," Lindor said. "I would love to say, 'Yes, spend money' but it's [owner Paul] Dolan's money. And [President] Chris Antonetti knows what he's doing. He knows when to spend money and not to spend money. That's a different problem. I don't deal with that."
As for whether or not the Indians can afford to sign Lindor, the 2-time Gold Glove Award winner offered a less vague assessment.
"Of course," he said. "It's a billion-dollar team."