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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | October 31, 2020

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Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 12

Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 12

| On 12, Jul 2020

Did The Tribe Win Last Night is now back on track with a new day in the countdown to Opening Day. Follow along as we count down the days until the Indians kick off play in the pandemic-shortened 2020 schedule on July 24. – BT

Countdown to Opening Day – 12 days

The clock is ticking on Francisco Lindor, and the Cleveland Indians’ relationship with him likely got significantly shorter due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Last season, the Indians lost time with Lindor too, but thankfully the right calf strain suffered as spring training was about to get underway only kept him out of action for a few weeks. This year, it has been an entirely different story, as the Tribe will lose 100 games of control of Lindor as the result of a drastically shortened season slate limited to just 60 games due to the widespread issues caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Lindor is the face of the Indians and one of the biggest, most marketable players in Major League Baseball today (despite the league’s continued inability to get the names and likenesses of the game’s top men out there for public consumption). At most, the Indians have 222 regular season games of control of their star shortstop, and that figure could become much less if the team elects to trade him in the offseason for a package of prospects and a little financial wiggle room. It is hard to envision a situation in which Lindor stays in town, even though he appears happy with his teammates and his coaching staff. Public comments from Lindor’s camp and the Indians’ front office and ownership have not given off good vibes, and it would seem that the 26-year-old, entering some of the best years of his career, will look to do so in a destination of his choosing and not the one assigned to him when he was selected by Cleveland with the eighth overall pick of the 2011 draft.

Lindor – Norm Hall/Getty Images

The switch-hitting shortstop’s salary bumped up significantly after another strong season in 2019. After making $10.85 million in his first season of arbitration, that figure jumped to $17.5 million for the 2020 season (plus incentives). His final season of arbitration for the 2021 season was expected to approach record levels; Mookie Betts avoided arbitration by agreeing to a record $27 million payday for 2020 to surpass Nolan Arenado’s $26 million record the previous offseason. Chicago’s Kris Bryant also figured to see a salary figure similar to Lindor for 2021 in his last year of arbitration eligibility; he received an $18.6 million contract for 2020 while avoiding arbitration himself, despite a lengthy grievance process due to legitimate allegations of service time manipulation by the Cubs.

As for Lindor, his value is well known and has been consistently reinforced by his production on the field. He was named an All-Star for the fourth time in his five-year career in 2019 and won his second Gold Glove Award after the season. For the fourth straight season, he received MVP votes. At the plate over 143 games, his numbers were right around his career averages, with a noticeable uptick that provided a slugging mark 31 points higher than his four-year average. He hit .284 with a .335 on-base percentage while slugging at a .518 clip, using a third-straight 40-double season and 32 homers to pad the stat. He swiped 22 bases in 27 attempts. His 74 RBI were his fewest since his rookie season, but that was far more likely a result of hitting out of the leadoff spot in 141 of his 143 games over the course of the year. That could change for 2020, with Oscar Mercado or Cesar Hernandez as possible alternatives atop manager Terry Francona’s lineup card. Lindor’s ability to drive in runs may be more important to the club than his ability to create runs.

Lindor’s numbers were down against left-handed pitching in 2019, leading to some of the slight drop off in some of his offensive statistics. In 223 plate appearances while batting right-handed, he hit .258 with a .341 on-base percentage and a .434 slugging mark with eleven doubles, eight homers, and 24 RBI. In 431 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, he hit .298 with a .333 OBP and a .560 slugging with 29 doubles, both of his triples, 24 homers, and 50 RBI. Surprisingly, for as clutch as Lindor has been at times throughout his career, he struggled with runners in scoring position on the year, hitting .202 in that situation and just .167 in the same spot with two outs. Twenty-five of his 32 homers were solos.

Prior to last season, Lindor had missed no more than four games in a season, so the 19 missed in 2019 were more than his previous three full seasons of play combined. But regardless of how much time Lindor is on the field, there is no doubting his production and his ability to change the game at one of the top levels in MLB. In 2018, he had more plate appearances and runs scored than any other player in the Majors. His 661 at bats were tops in the American League. The previous season, he led all AL batters in plate appearances and at bats. In each of those two seasons, he took home the AL’s Silver Slugger Award at shortstop. He led baseball with 15 sacrifice flies in 2016 and he was the AL’s top sacrifice bunter in his rookie season of 2015, recording 13 in 99 games.

Lindor was off to a good start in spring training for the Tribe this year, hitting .400 (12-for-30) in his first ten Cactus League games with three doubles, three homers, and ten RBI over 30 plate appearances before the coronavirus closed down camps in Arizona and Florida.

Enjoy Lindor now, because there is an awfully real chance that this shortened season will be Cleveland’s fans last year to celebrate one of the superstars of the game representing the Indians on the field.

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While Lindor has drawn some comparisons to Tribe legend Omar Vizquel for his flashy glove work, he may be a better comparable to another former 12 in Tribe history, Roberto Alomar (1999-2001). Similarly a middle infielder by trade (but almost exclusively a second baseman throughout his career), the switch-hitting Alomar was known for his flashy style of play and great numbers at the plate.

Alomar – Gus Chan/Plain Dealer file

Alomar broke into the Majors in 1988, working as the San Diego Padres’ full-time second baseman. He hit .266 and finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the year voting. His career really began to take off as he was heading out of San Diego, traded with Joe Carter to the Toronto Blue Jays for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff following his first All-Star campaign in 1990. He would spend five years north of the border and was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner each season, flashing extra base potential, the ability to hit for a high average, a good eye at the plate, and speed on the bases (including a career-high 55 stolen bases in 1993). His time with the Jays was highlighted by three straight playoff appearances, including back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. He was the MVP of the ALCS in 1992, hitting .423 with a pair of homers and four RBI. He drove in ten runs and stole eight bases in the 1993 postseason and hit .480 in the World Series against Philadelphia.

He signed with the Baltimore Orioles following the 1995 season and helped lead the O’s to the playoffs in 1996 and 1997, where they found competition in the Indians both times. His time in Maryland included three straight All-Star seasons and he also won his second career Silver Slugger award and added two more Gold Gloves to his resume.

Alomar joined his brother Sandy in Cleveland in December of 1998 and would spend three All-Star years (the final ones of his career) in an Indians uniform, putting together arguably his best single season in 1999 when he slashed .323/.422/.533 with career-highs in runs scored (138), homers (24), RBI (120), walks (99), and sacrifices (13, which led all of baseball). He would win two more Silver Sluggers while in Cleveland and three more Gold Gloves and had a pair of top-5 MVP seasons, finishing third in 1999 and fourth in 2001.

The Indians dealt him to the New York Mets as part of an eight-player swap in December of 2001, sending him, pitcher Mike Bacsik, and minor leaguer Danny Peoples to Shea for top prospect Alex Escobar, veteran outfielder Matt Lawton, pitchers Jerrod Riggan and Billy Traber, and first baseman Earl Snyder in an attempt to restock the depleted farm system. Alomar’s career was on the downswing at that point, as he hit no higher than .266 in a single season over the next three years, spending 2002 with the Mets, 2003 with New York and the Chicago White Sox, and 2004 with the Arizona Diamondbacks before a trade back to the Sox. An attempt to keep his career going in 2005 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays fell short and he retired towards the end of spring training.

Alomar finished his career with a .300/.371/.443 triple slash with 210 homers and 474 stolen bases. He went into the Hall of Fame on his second ballot in 2011, receiving 90% of the vote in what some believe was retribution for his unsightly spitting incident from earlier in his career with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck while with Baltimore.

Lindor, of course, wears 12 in honor of his idol, Alomar (who was also an inspiration for him to switch hit). The talented second baseman wore the number 12 for all but four months of his 17-year Hall of Fame career.

Other notable 12s in Tribe history (48 in total): Joe Shaute (the first in 1929), Willis Hudlin (1930-40), Lou Brissie (1951-53), Don Mossi (1954-58), Woodie Held (1963-64), Graig Nettles (1970-72), Jeff Kent (1996), Greg Swindell (1996), Ben Francisco (2007-09), Ezequiel Carrera (2011-12), Mark Reynolds (2013)

Photo: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

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Miss out on our other Countdown pieces? Check out more Indians history below!

Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 99 (Daniel Robertson)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 90 (Adam Cimber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 88 (Phil Maton)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 77 (Jack Armstrong)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 76 (Tom Magrann)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 75 (Mike Walker)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 73 (Ricardo Rincon)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 72 (Jason Giambi)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 71 (Johnny Hodapp)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 70 (James Karinchak, George Kontos)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 69 (Luis Medina)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 68 (Jefry Rodriguez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 67 (Aaron Civale, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 66 (Yasiel Puig, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 65 (Zach Plesac, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 64 (Tom Kramer, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 63 (Josh Smith, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 62 (Nick Wittgren, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 61 (Dan Otero, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 60 (Jhonny Peralta, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 59 (Carlos Carrasco)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 58 (Neil Ramirez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 57 (Shane Bieber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 56 (Cody Anderson)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 55 (Roberto Perez)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 54 (Hunter Wood)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 53 (Logan Allen)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 52 (Mike Clevinger)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 51 (numerous)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 50 (James Hoyt, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 49 (Tyler Olson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 48 (Emmanuel Clase, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 47 (Trevor Bauer)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 46 (Jon Edwards, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 45 (Adam Plutko)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 44 (Nick Goody, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 43 (Josh Tomlin, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 42 (Mike Jackson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 41 (Carlos Santana, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 40 (Bobby Bradley, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 39 (Oliver Perez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 38 (Eric Haase, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 37 (Cody Allen, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 36 (Tyler Clippard, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 35 (Oscar Mercado, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 34 (A.J. Cole, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 33 (Brad Hand, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 32 (Franmil Reyes, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 31 (Danny Salazar, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 30 (Tyler Naquin, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 29 (Andre Thornton)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 28 (Corey Kluber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 27 (Kevin Plawecki, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 26 (Max Moroff, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 25 (Jim Thome)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 24 (Carlos Gonzalez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 23 (Michael Brantley, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 22 (Jason Kipnis)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 21 (Bob Lemon, Rocky Colavito, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 20 (Frank Robinson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 19 (Bob Feller)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 18 (Mel Harder)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 17 (Brad Miller, others)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 16 (Mike Sarbaugh, others)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 15 (Sandy Alomar, Jr.)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 14 (Larry Doby)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 13 (Hanley Ramirez, Omar Vizquel)

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