No one should make excuses for the Indians

Sometimes saying nothing is better than the alternative

James Rapien
March 26, 2019 - 12:14 am

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Indians owner Paul Dolan essentially admitted the organization wouldn’t be able to pay Francisco Lindor what he’s worth on the open market. The three-time All-Star is expected to make $30-35 million per season once he hits free agency after the 2021 season.

"We control him for three more years. Enjoy him and then we'll see what happens,” Dolan told Zack Meisel of The Athletic. "You don't know. Probably the day when we do a deal like that is when somebody else is doing $1 billion deals with somebody else."

Some have praised him for his honesty, while others blame baseball for not having a salary cap. The Indians can spin this any way they want, but it shouldn’t matter.

No one should be making excuses for the Dolans. It’s easy to complain about market size. It’s convenient to mention the success of the organization over the years. The Indians are well-run, but that doesn’t give them a free pass to let Lindor walk out the door.

A lot of these mega-deals don’t end up working out. There are plenty of examples including Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. That doesn’t mean there aren’t players who are worth paying top dollar to keep. Lindor might be one of those guys. What’s his weakness? He’s been durable, has worked extremely hard, he’s a fan favorite and produces. He’s one of the best players on the planet. Lindor is worth $30 million per season. That could change before he hits free agency, but assuming he performs between now and then, why wouldn’t every team in baseball try to pay for a player like him?

Let’s pretend it’s 2007. Can you imagine if Dan Gilbert would’ve told Cavaliers fans to enjoy LeBron James’ time in Cleveland because the team wouldn’t be able to re-sign him when he hits free agency?

Basketball and baseball are completely different, but the comparison is simple – professional teams should be willing to pay stars who have been great and are still in the middle of their prime.

It sounds like Dolan is already waving the white flag. That’s extremely disappointing. Imagine being Lindor and reading those comments. He’s trained, worked and done everything he can to be the best player he can be. No matter how hard he works and trains, Indians’ ownership is admitting that they won’t be able to reward him.

He will get paid elsewhere, but everyone hopes that if they do their job and they do it well, they’ll be compensated fairly by their employer.

It’s crazy for Dolan to go on record and admit that they won’t be willing to pay their best player. Why should Lindor try on every play? Why run hard on every groundout? As long as he stays healthy and posts solid numbers, a team is going to pay him on the open market, so why should he be fully invested in Cleveland?

This also applies to the fan base. Are you going to buy your son or daughter a Lindor jersey, knowing he could be traded in the next few years and will definitely sign elsewhere after the 2021 season? Fans aren’t going to be able to wrap their arms around Frankie like they should be able to because they know how the story is going to end.

Dolan isn’t doing himself any favors after an offseason of salary cutting. Why in the world would he admit the Indians aren’t going to keep Lindor long-term? Some things are better left unsaid. Is he preparing the fans for a trade, which now seems inevitable? Cleveland fans are smart. They see the $300-400 million extensions being signed in baseball. Did anyone actually expect them to sign Lindor for that type of money?

If your wife asks you if she looks fat, you say no without thinking twice. If Dolan said the Indians were going to do everything they could to keep Frankie long-term and would up trading him, fans would’ve understood.

Sometimes saying nothing is better than saying something.