At 11:39 Eastern on Monday, shortly after Asdrubal Cabrera left the game with back spasms, the Indians announced via Twitter that they had promoted Francisco Lindor to the the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 22, 2014
Are Cabrera’s injury and Lindor’s promotion related? Probably.
With Cabrera gone, Mike Aviles steps in as the Indians everyday shortstop. And while Aviles is a perfectly respectable short-term option, he may not last long for two reasons.
For starters, Aviles is already drawing interest on the trade market. And given his limited role on the team, the Indians would probably listen to offers regardless of whether the front office decides to be buyers or sellers at the deadline.
Even if Aviles sticks around, the Indians may decide it’s time to start the Lindor era—either because he tears it up at Triple-A and he becomes their best option at shortstop, or because the team falls out of the race and it’s time to test him out.
By no means does Lindor’s promotion to Columbus mean he’s on the cusp of his major league debut. But these are plausible scenarios that the Indians are preparing for, and it’s probably a smart decision.
If nothing else, if gives Lindor the second half of the season to test his skills at the highest minor league level before competing for a starting job in the big leagues in 2015.