After an offseason during which Francisco Lindor's name popped into the rumor mill with some regularity, it looks like the Cleveland Indians are attempting to retain the superstar shortstop for a while.
"We'd love for Francisco to be here long term," Indians president Chris Antonetti said on Monday, according to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN. "I think Fransisco shares that desire. We have, and our ownership has made, meaningful efforts to try and do that. And so has Francisco. And he and his representative, David Meter, continue to express to both of us, publicly and privately, that he'd like to stay here ... in Cleveland.
"Now, how we make that happen is where it gets difficult. ... It's not because of a lack of desire on our part, or not because of a lack of desire on Francisco's part. But more when you look at the economics of baseball and the realities of building championship teams in a small market, it gets really tough. The interest is there, the desire is there, on both sides, to try to get something done."
At one point this winter, the Indians were reportedly asking teams to send their best and final offers for Lindor. The Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers were the clubs primarily connected to Lindor. However, the 26-year-old wound up not getting dealt, and Antonetti reiterated in January that he expected the four-time All-Star to be on the Opening Day roster.
Lindor will earn $17.5 million this upcoming season and is under team control through 2021 with one more year of arbitration remaining. Over five campaigns in the majors, the shortstop has hit .288/.247/.493 while claiming two Gold Gloves, a pair of Silver Sluggers, and earning MVP votes in each of the last four seasons.