The Cleveland Indians trading away Francisco Lindor does not signal the beginning of a total rebuild.
A rebuild would begin if several other starters were traded and young prospects began to get significant playing time.
But it is fair to wonder if the strategy of trading Lindor does in fact mean the team wants to get a reset and rebuild, even if only for a year or two.
Carlos Santana was already allowed to walk for a low price and Brad Hand had his option declined.
Are more moves coming?
Let’s take a look at what a true rebuild would look like.
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) December 18, 2020
A Full Rebuild Would See Fan Favorites Traded Away
The Indians are already poised to be at the bottom of MLB in terms of salary in 2021.
But it could get worse.
Basically, the Indians could trade just about everyone who isn’t in their arbitration years.
First up would be Carlos Carrasco.
I'm curious to learn if there is trade interest for #Indians Carlos Carrasco? With Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish talks going on, I would think Carrasco's market should heat up as well.
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) December 29, 2020
He is set to make $12 million in each of the next two seasons and has a $14 million vested option in 2023.
Carrasco will turn 34 years old in March and is making a lot of money for a team that may prefer to see what their young pitchers can do.
Shane Bieber is the ace and both Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac are back as well.
Triston McKenzie should also be given a spot.
Then you have Logan Allen, Cal Quantrill, and Sam Hentges fighting for a spot as well.
A trade of Carrasco would save money and let the young guys get much-needed reps.
The man set to catch all the pitchers could be on the move as well.
Roberto Perez is set to earn $5.5 million in 2021 with a $7 million club option in 2022.
The team acquired Austin Hedges from the San Diego Padres last season and could go with him, the younger option, in 2021.
One thing preventing this would be taking away an experienced catcher from a young pitching staff.
However, it would save money and go right along with a full rebuild.
Then there is the telling sign of a rebuild and a punting away of the 2021 season.
That would be a trade of Jose Ramirez.
He is only set to earn $9 million and has two club options after that.
Hopefully, the Indians at least keep Ramirez to avoid a total disaster of a product next season.
Should the Indians Undertake a Total Rebuild?
Most fans will find it hard to advocate for the Indians to trade every single veteran on this team.
What is the point of having Shane Bieber as an ace if the lineup is all young and inexperienced players?
Trading Lindor seems like a given.
But that alone sheds a ton of salary and it’s not like Carrasco, Perez, and Ramirez are making a fortune.
They are all on team-friendly deals and can stay on the team to add a nice mix of experience with the young guys.
— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) September 23, 2020
The front office could also go crazy and even add a veteran in free agency with all the savings from Lindor not being given a new mega-deal.
So no, this writer doesn’t believe the team should trade away all the veteran talent on the team.
If the front office wants to be a team like the Tampa Bay Rays, where there is winning on a budget, some money is going to have to be spent.
Otherwise, the Indians will just become a farm system for other MLB teams.