Indians owner: We 'couldn't afford to build a team around' Lindor

Joe Sargent / Major League Baseball / Getty

Trading Francisco Lindor wasn't easy for Cleveland Indians owner and CEO Paul Dolan, but he saw it as a necessary move for the club's long-term health.

During a virtual interview this week, Dolan explained the team wouldn't have been able to field a sustainable winner around the star shortstop had they signed him to a long-term contract.

"It's the reality of a small-market team, especially a small-market team that wants to compete," Dolan told the Akron Roundtable on Thursday, according to 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."

Lindor emerged as arguably the best shortstop in baseball and the face of the Indians' franchise over his six years in Cleveland, leading them to four playoff berths and the 2016 American League pennant. He expressed a desire to stay in Cleveland on several occasions, but the sides never came close to an extension.

Cleveland traded Lindor - who is scheduled to become a free agent this coming winter - and Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets in January for four players. The Mets have been talking to him about a long-term deal, and are reportedly willing to make an offer of at least $300 million.

Last April, Forbes valued the Indians at $1.15 billion, ranking 25th out of 30 MLB teams. The team's projected payroll of approximately $40.9 million is the lowest in baseball, according to Spotrac.

Dolan, whose family has owned the team since 1999, said the Indians are his family's lone source of income, according to Hoynes. He added that the team "lose(s) money every year ... most years."

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Indians owner: We 'couldn't afford to build a team around' Lindor
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