CLEVELAND, Ohio – The postseason ended for the Indians on Monday in an embarrassing 11-3 loss to the Astros at Progressive Field. As soon as that season ended, another season began.
Call this the money season and the star players will be owner Paul Dolan and executives Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff. They have several impending free agents to make decisions on.
Then there is Francisco Lindor and Trevor Bauer and the arbitration process. Lindor will be eligible for the first time this winter. Bauer will be taking his third bite of the arbitration apple.
MLBtraderumors.com released its projections for what every eligible player will earn in arbitration this winter. Lindor, to say the least, is in for a big raise.
He made $623,200 this season, just above the major league minimum of $545,000. He is projected to earn $10.2 million for the 2019 season.
Bauer, who in a rare move took the Indians to arbitration last offseason and beat them, is projected to earn $11.6 million. His arbitration victory this season paid him $6.525 million.
The Indians have tried several times to sign both players to multiyear deals without success. A couple of springs ago, they made Lindor an extension offer that was close to $100 million, but he turned it down. They have not made much headway since.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) October 8, 2018
In Bauer’s case, he’s on record as saying he’d like to play his whole career on one-year contracts. Perhaps having this season interrupted by a stress fracture in his right leg will convince him that a career can be a fragile thing, but that’s something only Bauer can answer.
Last winter Kris Bryant of the Cubs avoided arbitration by signing a one-year $10.85 million deal. It’s a record for a player in his first year of eligibility. Bryant was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2015 and the NL MVP in 2016.
While Bryant became eligible for arbitration after 457 games, Lindor needed 547 games. He’s a three-time All-Star who finished second in the AL Rookie the Year voting in 2015. In 2016 and 2017, Lindor finished ninth and fifth, respectively, in AL MVP voting and should finish in the top 10 against this year.
Along with his career statistics — .288 (665-for-2,306), 377 runs, 138 doubles, 98 homers, 310 RBI, 90 steals and a .837 OPS – Lindor and his agent could make a compelling argument if they went the distance in their arbitration case.
Bauer was in contention for the AL Cy Young award when he was hit by a line drive above the right leg on Aug. 11 by Jose Abreu. He came back to make three appearances at the end of the regular season before pitching out of the bullpen in the ALDS.
He ended the regular season at 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and one save in 175 1/3 innings. He was one of four Tribe pitchers to strikeout 200 or more batters in one year.
The Indians control Bauer through 2020 and Lindor through 2021.
Here are the other Indians eligible for arbitration and what they’re expected to earn: Danny Salazar $5 million, Leonys Martin $2.8 million, Neil Ramirez $1.3 million, Cody Anderson $900,000, Brandon Barnes $800,000 and Nick Goody $700,000. Salazar missed the entire season with a right shoulder injury, Martin played six games for the Indians after being acquired from the Tigers before his season ended because of a bacterial infection. Anderson has been sidelined since the spring of 2017 because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Goody made just 12 appearances this year before needing surgery on his right elbow.
When the World Series ends, these Indians will become free agents: Michael Brantley, Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Lonnie Chisenhall, Josh Tomlin, Rajai Davis, Melky Cabrera, Oliver Perez and Josh Donaldson. If the Indians don’t bring any of them back, they’ll be shedding an estimated $46 million in salary.
Tribe minor leaguers Alexi Ogando and Evan Marshall have already filed for free agency.
The Indians hold club options for 2019 on 17-game winner Carlos Carrasco and outfielder Brandon Guyer. Carrasco’s option is worth $9 million and it’s a no-brainer it will be exercised. Guyer’s option is worth $3 million, but that could be questionable because he had a hard time staying healthy this year.