CLEVELAND, Ohio — I hate writing columns about Cleveland sports stars and money.
That issue will hang over the Indians and Francisco Lindor probably until he is traded or leaves as a free agent after the 2021 season. That’s because baseball’s lack of a salary cap is a problem for many Major League teams, not just the Tribe.
Suppose MLB had a maximum contract such as the NBA, where players can’t sign for more than five years. Some are restricted to four years.
Maybe the Indians would still not sign Lindor, but at least they could think about it.
Instead, baseball has a contract landscape where the top players now sign for 10 to 12 years for massive sums of money.
Consider the situation of Mookie Betts, a star with the Boston Red Sox. He is a year away from free agency. You’d think Boston (a major, major, major market) would make a strong bid to keep Betts.
Perhaps they did.
There have been media reports of Betts turning down an 8-year, $200 million deal in 2017 . . . 10-year, $300 million deal in 2019 . . . and he supposedly wants something in the $420 million range.
Baseball’s richest contract is $430 million for 12 years signed by Mike Trout of the Angels.