CLEVELAND (AP) — Shortstop Francisco Lindor avoided salary arbitration and agreed Friday to a $17.5 million, one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians, who have so far rejected trade offers for the four-time All-Star.
Lindor received the second-largest one-year deal for a player in his second season of arbitration eligibility, only behind the $20 million Mookie Betts agreed to last year with Boston. On Friday, Betts agreed to a $27 million, one-year contract with the Red Sox for 2020.
Lindor made $10.65 million last year.
The Indians also avoided arbitration with pitchers Mike Clevinger ($4.1 million) and Nick Wittgren ($1,125,000), and outfielders Tyler Naquin ($1.45 million) and Delino DeSheilds ($1,875,000).
Lindor is under control of the Indians through the 2021 season, but with the prospects of signing him to a long-term deal unlikely, the team has listened to trade offers. To this point, Cleveland hasn’t heard anything worth moving on and team president Chris Antonetti said earlier this week he still expects Lindor to be the starting shortstop on opening day.
Lindor has become one of baseball’s best all-around players and he’s certain to land a monster free agent contract once he’s on the market. The 26-year-old hit .284 with 32 home runs and 74 RBIs last season. He scored 101 runs and stole 22 bases.
Clevinger got a large bump in pay after making $592,200 last year. The right-hander went 13-4 with a 2.71 ERA in 21 starts. The Indians need him to stay consistent following the recent trade of two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber.
DeSheilds came over from Texas in the trade for Kluber and gives Cleveland some needed outfield depth. He batted .249 in 118 games for the Rangers last season.
Naquin was having a solid 2019 before tearing a knee ligament in August. He agreed to a raise from $574,800. The 28-year-old batted .288 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs in 89 games before he got hurt when he collided into the outfield wall trying to make a catch in Tampa.
Nick Wittgren agreed to, a raise from last year’s major league salary of $564,300. He began last season at Triple-A Columbus before joining the Indians and becoming a valuable piece of their bullpen. Wittgren went 5-1 with four saves and a 2.81 ERA in 55 games.