CLEVELAND — All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor remains on the Cleveland Indians’ roster, but that is not for a lack of trying on the part of other Major League Baseball teams to acquire the services of the multi-time Silver Slugger/Gold Glove winner.
While trade talks have linked the Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers, a new team has emerged as a suitor for Lindor, and that is the very team he helped Cleveland beat in the 2016 American League Championship Series: the Toronto Blue Jays.
According to Shi Davidi, an MLB insider for Sportsnet in Canada, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins is “extremely open to something of significant impact,” and implied such a move would more than likely come through a trade, which he views as “very difficult to do.”
Atkins, Toronto’s executive vice president and general manager, and Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro were high-ranking officials in Cleveland’s front office when the Indians selected Lindor in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
In 2019, Lindor belted 32 home runs, 40 doubles and two triples with 74 runs batted in and 101 runs scored despite missing the first 19 games while working through calf and ankle injuries suffered in a preseason individual workout and spring training, respectively.
The 25-year old Lindor hit .284 with a split of .335/.518/.854 on-base, slugging and on-base-plus-slugging percentages in 2019.
Over 1,196.1 innings of work in 2019, Lindor registered 159 put-outs and 312 assists against 10 errors in 481 total chances. In addition to the .979 fielding percentage, Lindor combined to turn 68 double plays, both of which helped him earn the AL Rawlings Gold Glove Award at shortstop for the second time in four years.
In 2018, Lindor led the Indians with 183 hits and 42 doubles, was tied for third in triples, third in runs batted in and second with 38 home runs. Lindor set a club record for lead-off home runs, as he started nine games with round-trippers in 2018.
“When other teams hear rumors that, ‘Hey, we’re trying to balance payroll’ or however you want to say it, they’re naturally going to come see if they can get a steal or get one of the best players in the game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said in an appearance on MLB Network Radio last week.
“I don’t blame them. That doesn’t mean we’re going to say yes.”
Through 717 games over his first four-plus years with the Indians, Lindor collected 835 hits, including 178 doubles, 15 triples and 130 home runs, with 384 runs batted in, 478 runs scored and 260 walks drawn against 455 strikeouts.
A four-time American League All-Star infielder and two-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, Lindor has a .288 career batting average with .347 on-base, .493 slugging and .840 on-base-plus-slugging percentages.
Currently, Lindor is in his second year of arbitration and set to make $17.5 million after agreeing to a deal with the Indians prior to a hearing.
“We know we can have two years for sure,” Francona said. “Can we make it go longer and still sustain the rest of our team? I don’t know. That’s a challenge. That’s hard. There’s no getting around it. I wish I could say, ‘Yeah, it’d be easy,’ but it’s going to be hard.”