The Cleveland Indians appear to be readying themselves to lose another fan-favorite, All-Star-caliber player in Shin-Soo Choo. General manager Chris Antonetti admitted that the team will listen to offers for the outfielder in the offseason after being unable to agree on a multiyear contract.
Choo would follow players like CC Sabathia, Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee, who achieved great success in Cleveland but were ultimately traded when they wouldn't sign long-term deals. Grant Brisbee of SB Nation recently wrote about that issue in Cleveland, arguing that even though fans are attached to Choo, it doesn't necessarily make sense for them to invest in him long-term if the price is too great:
Back and forth. There's no good answer for the Indians. What the Indians need, and what they'll eventually get, is their Andrew McCutchen -- a homegrown player who will come up and succeed at an early age, which will make him eligible for free agency sooner. That will allow the Indians to lock up a fan favorite throughout his mid-20s and say, "See? We can keep a guy around when it makes sense."
Choo isn't that player. So the recent cycle will continue, and the Indians will get slammed. Eventually they'll get back to the paradigm that the other teams in baseball all follow now, the one the Indians started in the first place. They'll just need the right players first.