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Report: Indians intend to trade Lindor before Opening Day

Ethan Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Cleveland Indians may begin the 2021 campaign without one of their best players.

The Indians intend to trade shortstop Francisco Lindor before Opening Day, two rival executives told Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Lindor, 26, has been mentioned in trade rumors since last offseason. A contract extension in Cleveland appears unlikely, with the four-time All-Star expected to be too pricey for the cash-strapped Indians.

Cleveland's ownership is also demanding the team cut payroll, according to Nightengale.

Trading Lindor before Opening Day would save the Indians from paying him any of the $20 million he's expected to earn through arbitration before next season.

The two-time Gold Glove winner is also eligible for free agency following the 2021 campaign.

Lindor has been one of baseball's top players since making his MLB debut in 2015, authoring a .285/.346/.488 slash line with 138 home runs, 411 RBIs, and 99 steals.

Cleveland has already decided not to exercise options on closer Brad Hand and first baseman Carlos Santana.

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