Francisco Lindor’s trade notes: Cleveland Fleece Mets in MLB’s biggest offseason move


The New York Mets have agreed to a six-player trade with Cleveland on Thursday that will net them All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-handed starter Carlos Carrasco in exchange for a package led by shortstops. Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario.

That Lindor and Carrasco were swapped this winter shouldn’t come as a surprise. Lindor will qualify for free agency after the 2021 season, and the Cleveland ownership has made it clear that they are unwilling to pay him his worth to retain his services. Carrasco, meanwhile, would have been given his 10-5 rights – the power to veto any trade that comes with 10 years of service and five with the same team – at the start of the upcoming season.

That the Mets were involved shouldn’t come as a shock either. New owner Steve Cohen, considered the richest in sport, is committed to building a World Series winning club. Adding Lindor, a type of franchise, without sacrificing much in terms of big league or farming system roster is a no-brainer. Even if the Mets fail to extend Lindor – and the ball is in their court to do that the same way the Los Angeles Dodgers did with Mookie Betts – it’s unlikely that this will be a trade that they come to regret.

At CBS Sports, we are nothing but judgments. As such, we decided to break down the craft while providing notes to each team. Now let’s move on to that part of the effort, starting with a recap of the moving parts:

  • The Mets host: SS Francisco Lindor, RHP Carlos Carrasco
  • Cleveland receives: SS Andres Gimenez, SS Amed Rosario, RHP Josh Wolf, OF Isaiah Greene

Food grade: A

It’s the kind of successful acquisition the Mets were supposed to make early and often under Cohen’s ownership, in terms of both title and method – preying on owners who don’t want pony to keep their holdings. best players in town. The fact that the Mets have managed to lasso Lindor and Carrasco without sacrificing anything in their absence is an impressive job from new general manager Jared Porter.

Lindor is, of course, a star. Prior to the pandemic, he had landed four consecutive seasons in which he had racked up more than five wins over substitution. The only players with more WAR than Lindor in the past five years are Mike Trout, Betts, Nolan Arenado and Jose Ramirez. (This does not reflect well the current operating philosophy of baseball that four of five could end up being traded within three years.)

Lindor can do it all. At the plate, it is a switch-hitter that makes strong contact and that walks without hitting a ton. On the basepaths, he is an efficient thief capable of sweeping bats in volume. On the pitch, it’s a splendid defensive shortstop. If you fumble around, you might point out that he has struggled with lefties for the past two seasons (although it’s unclear to what extent this can be attributed to a small sample size), or that he … make decisions with a hair dye that others would hesitate to? You have to really, really hit, which is the surest indicator that he’s a franchise player.

It’s unclear what kind of contract Lindor has on his dashboard. Under normal circumstances, it would be justified to aim for more than the Anthony Rendon deal (seven years, $ 245 million) and hope the gentle breeze of inflation has pushed his demand downwind, much closer to the Mookie Betts extension (12 years, $ 365 million). Now? Who knows. This uncertainty should, in theory, help the Mets hold onto Lindor.

The addition of Carrasco should not be overlooked either. He’s just finished a season in which he posted a 2.91 ERA (157 ERA +) and a put-to-take ratio of 3.04. Outside of 2019, when diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, he was an above average reliable starter who doubles as a well-regarded figure in the clubhouse.

Carrasco uses three throws to good effect: a 94 mph fastball with high spin rates, a slider, and a shift he used at high frequency in his career last season. It’s probably fair to consider him as at least a No.3 starter up front, with the potential to produce even better than that. Carrasco is therefore a luxury for an already planned Mets rotation to include Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and, possibly, Noah Syndergaard.

Carrasco is not a rental either. His contract guarantees him $ 27 million over the next two years. Depending on how he launches by then, the Mets could exercise a club option for the 2023 season that would net him an additional $ 11 million.

Regardless of what the Mets do next – and, to be clear, they should stay aggressive on high-end targets – this trade is a major boon to their 2021 chances. Depending on how one assesses the players Lindor and Carrasco replace , it is possible that this will add up to five wins to the Mets’ projection. These are the kinds of wins the Mets need to make if they are to knock the Atlanta Braves off the top of the division.

Cleveland Rating: D

To paraphrase Wilco, there is no love more random than that of an owner. Summarizing this business as a story of two ownership groups is a bit simplistic, but it makes for a nifty framing device, so nothing goes. On the one hand, you have Cohen, totally invested, doing his best to make people forget that he inspired headlines about why he’s not in jail; on the other, you’ve got the tired Larry Dolan, who oscillates between missing the point on his franchise’s moniker and destroying his front office’s bargaining lever with his public displays of indifference.

As good as Cleveland’s front office is – and it’s a team with the second-most wins since 2013 – it’s hard to defeat an owner who handcuffs the baseball operations department at every turn. Here’s an example where it doesn’t look like Cleveland could have risen above Dolan – even though this trade contains the components we’d expect from a Lindor exchange.

Gimenez, 22, still has five years of team control after spending all of last season in the majors. He also posted better numbers than expected at home, hitting .263 / .333 / .398 (102 OPS +) with eight interceptions in nine tries. He’s arguably the closest thing to this trade of a centerpiece and a sure thing, but that doesn’t mean it has a star-rated cap. On the contrary, Gimenez should settle down as a second division starter. He is a flexible and skillful defender who should above all replace Lindor defensively. Where he can’t compete is at home plate, where he doesn’t walk and kick the ball hard. Gimenez’s shoot-happy ways also make him easier to defend, capping his batting average.

Rosario, the group’s veteran, is about to enter his season at 25. He has three years of team control left, but the question remains whether Cleveland will want to keep him that long. Rosario would appear to be a soft candidate if he behaves the way he did last season, hitting 0.252 / 0.272 / 0.371 (76 OPS +) without many positive underlying indicators.

The first decision Cleveland will have to make with Rosario is where to play him. They could open the season with him at short notice if they want Gimenez to enjoy more of a seasoning in the minor leagues. Alternatively, they could throw him at second base to replace Cesar Hernandez, or even down the middle to take over from Delino DeShields Jr. Rosario doesn’t have a lot of outfield experience, to be clear, but the center has been a long rumor. potential destination for him due to his speed and difficulties on land. Wherever he plays he will have to hit more to stay in town for long.

Both prospects are recent second-round picks with minimal work experience. Wolf is a 6-foot-3 right-hander with an upside-down spin. There are unanswered questions about its ability to handle a substantial workload, but Cleveland has enough of a good track record in pitching and developing pitchers that it’s fair to give them an edge in the doubt over its inclusion. Greene has above average power potential, although scouts who spoke to CBS Sports believe he will end up in left field in part because of his below average arm.

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