Mets acquire Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco in blockbuster trade with Indians

Originally posted on MLB Trade Rumors | By Mark Polishuk | Last updated 1/7/21

The Mets have made their first huge deal of the Steve Cohen era, acquiring shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-hander Carlos Carrasco from the Indians as part of a six-player trade. To replace their star shortstop, Cleveland will receive two prominent young infielders in Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez and a pair of Mets prospects — right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene.

It has been widely assumed that Lindor would be on the move at some point this offseason, as the Tribe is looking to cut payroll and Lindor is now entering his final season before free agency. The Mets have been one of many teams mentioned as a plausible suitor, though comments made by both new owner Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson implied that the Mets would be more apt to sign big-name players rather than trade for them, due to a lack of minor-league depth in New York’s farm system.

Instead, Alderson and new Mets GM Jared Porter have now swung a major blockbuster. Financial terms of the deal haven’t yet been made public, but it’s safe to assume the Mets are picking up all of the $27M owed to Carrasco through the 2022 season. Between Carrasco’s contract and Lindor’s projected salary (between $17.5M and $21.5M) in his final year of arbitration, Cohen’s willingness to spend manifested itself in a different way, as the Mets will now upgrade their roster by taking some salaries off the books of the cost-cutting Cleveland organization.

Since his debut in 2015, no shortstop in baseball has a higher fWAR (28.9) than Lindor. A four-time All-Star with two Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger Awards, Lindor has hit .285/.346/.488 with 138 home runs over his six big league seasons, and further established himself as an all-around talent by stealing 99 bases. 2020 was a down year for Lindor, as he hit only .258/.335/.415 over a league-high 266 PA, but that would certainly be explained by the unusual nature of the shortened season rather than a clear sign of a decline.

It is also fair to wonder if Lindor might have been impacted by the trade speculation that has been swirling around him for the better part of three years. After some early-career extension talks with the Tribe failed to lead to a deal, it became increasingly clear that Cleveland would look to trade Lindor rather than just let him walk in free agency. Indians owner Paul Dolan said last year that his team didn’t have the resources to invest heavily in a single player, and rather notoriously told Cleveland fans to “enjoy [Lindor] and then we’ll see what happens.”

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Indians’ Chris Antonetti defends ‘earnest effort’ to keep Francisco Lindor

The Cleveland Indians now look exceedingly likely to lose Francisco Lindor to free agency at the end of the 2020 season, and the organization is trying to calm down fan reaction accordingly.

Lindor cut off negotiations with the Indians on Monday. Though things seem cordial between the player and the organization, Indians president Chris Antonetti said they could not make the numbers work, and it would be “hard” to keep Lindor in the market Cleveland is in.

Antonetti said the Indians made a “sincere and earnest effort” to keep Lindor, but “different and creative concepts” did not yield an agreement. Antonetti continued, via Jake Seiner of the Associated Press:

“Any team can afford one player individually. The question is can you afford an individual player and still build a championship team around him. And that’s ultimately the problem we’re trying to solve. And it’s really difficult in baseball’s economic system for teams in smaller markets to be able to do that.”

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Grey Papke | Last updated 3/11/20