Tribe happy to get draftees in the fold

Tribe happy to get draftees in the fold

CHICAGO -- The Indians' negotiations with first-rounder Francisco Lindor did not go down to the last second on Monday night. The contract talks were wrapped up well before the signing deadline's arrival.

Cleveland had at least 90 seconds to spare.

"We probably came to an agreement about a minute and a half or two minutes before the deadline," said Brad Grant, the Indians' director of amateur scouting.

As the clock ticked down to midnight ET, the Indians certainly had some worry that a deal would come to fruition with Lindor, who was selected eighth overall in the First-Year Player Draft in June. Within that uncertainty, though, was a confidence -- based on conversations with the young shortstop -- that Lindor wanted to turn pro.

Draft Central

"There's always a question, there's always doubt," Grant admitted. "But, at the same time, we always were confident. We knew Francisco wanted to play professional baseball and this was a priority in his life."

Sure enough, shortly before the deadline, the Indians officially inked the 17-year-old Lindor to a contract that included a $2.9 million signing bonus. It was the second-highest bonus given to a drafted player in team history, falling just $100,000 shy of the team record $3 million bonus handed to pitcher Jeremy Guthrie in 2002.

Cleveland also signed its second-round pick, right-hander Dillon Howard, with a signing bonus worth $1.85 million. Right-hander Shawn Armstrong (selected in the 20th round) also signed before Monday's deadline. In all, the Indians signed 29 of their 50 selections.

"We're very happy," Grant said on Tuesday, "that we were able to come to terms with Francisco Lindor, Dillon Howard and Shawn Armstrong last night. It was from the work of all of our scouts. It just didn't come together at the end last night. This was a process that began last June."

Grant noted that Lindor, who has not been playing in games this summer, was scheduled to report to short-season Mahoning Valley on Wednesday. The current plan calls for Lindor to work out with the team for a period of time before transitioning into games.

The Indians were still working out a plan for the 18-year-old Howard, who had been pitching for the Midland Redskins during their recent run to the Connie Mack World Series title. Howard will head to instructional league, but Cleveland is currently determining if he will first join an affiliate to pitch in games.