Plenty of people want the Indians to sign Lindor to an extension now. Of course it would be a wise move to buy his last two years of arbitration and sign him for the rest of his prime. Unfortunately for Cleveland, Lindor would be a fool to sign anytime soon. He will reach free agency at 28-years-old. He’s been durable and should continue to post big numbers. Why sign now, when you could wait, secure as much, if not more money long-term and maintain future flexibility?
The Indians would have to blow Lindor away with an offer to get him to agree to a deal now. He’s wise to wait, play it out and see what his options are after the 2021 season.
Lindor probably wouldn’t sign an extension with the Yankees, Red Sox or any other team at this point. His salary will continue to rise over the next two seasons. Then, he can cash in on a long-term deal that could last 8-10 more seasons.
There’s also a chance they could extend him 2021. Troy Tulowitzki made $20 million per season from 2016-2018. That’s the highest yearly salary for a starting shortstop over the past decade. Lindor will want the numbers to be right, but Cleveland can certainly be in the mix to sign him.
Manny Machado’s contract will likely impact those numbers, but the Indians have plenty of money coming off of the books by 2022. Corey Kluber, Carlos Santana and Trevor Bauer could all be playing elsewhere. Carlos Carrasco will be under contract for one more season. The front office is positioning itself to get younger by the time Lindor becomes a free agent.
It’s far from guaranteed that Lindor will remain in Cleveland after the 2021 season, but it’s silly to think his departure is a foregone conclusion.