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Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan said they traded shortstop Francisco Lindor because they ‘couldn’t afford to build a team around him.’
It is often unheard of for a professional sports team to move on from an elite athlete, but there are cases where it has happened. The most recent case involves the Cleveland Indians and star shortstop Francisco Lindor. With the infielder set to hit free agency next winter, Cleveland traded him to the New York Mets in exchange for four players earlier this year.
During an interview with the Akron Roundtable on Thursday, team owner Paul Dolan said the reason why he traded Lindor was because they did not believe they could afford to build a team around him on his likely lucrative contract.
“It’s the reality of a small-market team, especially a small-market team that wants to compete,” Dolan said, via Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com. “(Lindor’s) a phenomenal player and you want to have phenomenal players on your team. But you can’t have just one. You’ve got to build a team. We could afford a player like Lindor. We just couldn’t afford to build a team around him.”
Cleveland simply could not afford to sign Francisco Lindor to a contract extension
The writing always appeared to be on the wall for Lindor and a trade was always imminent. Who could forget the infamous Dolan quote from his 2019 interview with The Athletic, when he told Cleveland fans to “enjoy him” while he was still under team control.
This offseason, Cleveland opted to trade Lindor to the Mets in exchange for shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, right-handed pitcher Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene. Getting two shortstops in exchange for Lindor was a pretty solid get, considering both Rosario and Gimenez were highly touted as prospects. Speaking of prospects, Wolf is listed as the 11th-best prospect in Cleveland’s farm, while Greene is ranked 22nd in the pipeline.
Lindor was deemed the next player to receive a $300 million-plus contract, but that became a formality after the San Diego Padres signed 22-year-old phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14-year, $340 million contract. The shortstop has negotiated with the Mets this spring, with a recent report from Andy Martino of SNY indicating that the team is willing to pay him $300 million on a long-term deal before he hits the open market after this season.
It has to sting Cleveland sports fans to see Lindor suit up for another team that is willing to pay him. But with the organization viewing its finances and future, Dolan deemed it was better to trade Lindor for the best trade package available and to build from there.