The Francisco Lindor trade rumors have been flying around since the Indians announced he was on the market. Despite Lindor coming off one of his worst seasons to date, he is still a superstar worthy of acquiring. There are many teams that would be perfect suitors for the 4-time all-star. Although almost all teams would love to have the 26-year-old shortstop, he will come with a hefty price. Lindor is approaching free agency, and so moving the pieces needed to get him is risky. His situation will be like that of Mookie Betts and the Dodgers, which resulted in a title. The highly desired infielder is a good fit for many teams, but who are the three that could really get him, and what will it take?
New York Mets
The New York Mets have recently been bought by billionaire Steve Cohen. The new owner will look to make a splash quickly. Cohen can attempt to do this by signing J.T. Realmuto, but if that doesn’t happen, then trading for Lindor will be another good option to improve the already talented Mets’ offense. Amed Rosario had a below-average season at shortstop for the Mets, obtaining a -.2 WAR. New York could afford to get both Realmuto and Lindor, who could lead to an explosive offensive attack.
Cleveland’s outfield lacked in production in 2020, and the Mets have the pieces to fix that. Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith were both above average hitters this past season and are young enough for long-term production. Packaging one of those utility outfielders with a top prospect is worth unloading for a two-time silver slugger winner. Shortstop Andrez Gimenez is disposable with number one prospect Ronny Mauricio on the come up for the Mets. If NY can rid of a young outfielder and a young pitching or MIF prospect, they may be the favorites to land Lindor. NY Prospects
After a really devastating playoff loss to the Braves in 2020, the Reds’ offense needs a boost. Starting shortstop Freddy Galvis is set to become a free agent, so a Fransico Lindor trade could be perfect. After Fransico Lindor trade rumors surfaced last year, the Reds expressed their interest in Nick Senzel. The outfielder had a poor 2020, however, so the Indians would have to see through that. The Indians pitchers had the lowest runs allowed per game in 2020, so pitchers are not a need. With the expected loss of Trevor Bauer this offseason, the Reds would be financially capable to pick up Lindor. Unfortunately, the large contracts of Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas might prevent Cincinnati from resigning Lindor to a long-term deal. The Reds’ pitching will get them to the playoffs next year, and even just one year of Lindor could push them over the hump.
There are many different packages that the Reds may be able to offer to acquire Lindor this offseason. If the Indians target Senzel, I expect the Reds to also add a top prospect or two into the deal. Rookie Tyler Stephenson exploded in very limited playing time last season, and catcher is not a strength in Cleveland. He would add some offensive firepower to a lineup whose catchers hit a combined .153. (Sandy Leon and Roberto Perez) The Reds’ number seven prospect, outfielder Michael Siani, could be a longer-term trade piece. Stephenson would be a big prospect to give up but expect the Reds to throw in him or two less-developed players such as Siani to pair up with Senzel and acquire Lindor. Cincy Prospects
San Francisco Giants
The longshot team in the Francisco Lindor trade sweepstakes is the San Francisco Giants. Brandon Crawford’s big 15-million-dollar contract expires in 2021, and there will be a hole at shortstop. Lindor could slot in perfectly, and although the Giants are not yet ready to win a title, if they are able to sign the platinum glove award to a longer-term deal, then the investment will be worth it. Lindor is about to turn 27, and the Giants could use him as a centerpiece in their contention. The Giants’ young offense is on the come up, and Lindor will improve the league’s eighth-best offense. If the pitching can improve for the 29-31 Giants, then the playoffs are not out of the question next year.
Out of their top five prospects, the Giants have two outfielders that the Indians may be looking at. Heliot Ramos is probably the most viable option to be traded to Cleveland, as he is the most pro-ready ballplayer in San Fran’s farm system. (SF Prospects) The Indians’ biggest target is outfielders, but LHP Seth Corry, SF’s number five prospect, is not a bad option. Pairing these two prospects, or even more, than two, could be appealing to Cleveland. Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, who struggled in his limited MLB action last year, is also expendable. Lindor may not be too fond of joining a non-contender, but he may not have a choice. Although Cincinnati or New York makes more sense, San Francisco has the pieces to make a move.
The Indians’ need to get rid of Lindor before his contract expires, and other teams have noticed. The Francisco Lindor trade rumors will be the headline of the 2020 offseason, and these three teams are the best equipped squads to make a run at the superstar shortstop this winter.
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