February 28, 2021

Can Cleveland Afford Francisco Lindor? (FanGraphs)


I think it’s fair to say that the city of Cleveland has an image problem. I don’t know how far back this issue goes, but they’ve been late-night joke fodder for as long as I can remember. I suppose flyover country plus rust belt plus the depiction of the city and baseball team in the movie Major League adds up to a less-than-stellar perception of the city. That attitude often transfers over to the baseball club, particularly in terms of what the team can and cannot do when it comes to spending. This perception is central to the debate about whether the Cleveland baseball club can afford a massive contract extension for Francisco Lindor. However, perception isn’t always reality.

There are two principal arguments against Cleveland offering a big contract to Lindor. The first is that Cleveland is too small of a market with meager revenues, and signing Lindor would push payroll too high. The second is an offshoot of the first: If Cleveland were to sign Lindor to a huge contract, they would have their ability to compete constrained because Lindor would cost too much to keep payroll in line with typical levels. Both arguments are worth exploring.

Last season, Forbes…

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