The Mets acquired Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco in a trade from Cleveland that included a couple of major-leaguers and a couple of far-away prospects Thursday, a move that obviously has plenty of ramifications for the 2021 Fantasy baseball season. What's nice about this deal is it should be a no-lose scenario for Fantasy, with the Mets shipping out two players who played the same position as Lindor to a team that needed help at both middle infield positions, meaning all three should start on Opening Day.
There are, of course, still plenty of questions that need to be answered from both sides of the deal, so let's get into what it means for the Mets and Cleveland for 2021 and beyond, starting with the Mets.
We react to the trade and its impact on a breaking news edition of the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast. Follow all of our podcasts and subscribe here.
Mets acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco
We don't need to spend too much time on this side, because Lindor and Carrasco are the kind of players for whom team, league and park context don't really matter all that much. They're great, and they'll be great pretty much anywhere they play. That being said, this move is probably good news for both.
For Lindor, he moves from what is shaping up to be one of baseball's worst lineups to one that looks solidly above-average -- and possibly much better than that. The Mets ranked 13th in scoring in 2020 and can reasonably expect better production from first base and shortstop, and possibly third base as well. This is a deep lineup with few weak points, and that should help Lindor put up his typically strong counting stats, which means your expectations should be slightly higher for him as a result of this move. However, it probably doesn't do much to change your draft board -- Lindor is an early second-round pick regardless.
Likewise, while this move should improve Carrasco's value, it doesn't do much to change how you should value him on Draft Day. He benefited from facing only the AL and NL Central divisions last season, but now he could have the advantage of not having to face the DH -- we're still waiting to find out if the universal DH will be implemented for 2021. Carrasco is an excellent pitcher who should provide top-tier ratios and tons of strikeouts, and his limited innings last season were mostly gone by season's end as he threw at least six innings in each of his final six outings of the regular season.
Carrasco will be 34 on opening day, which is one possible reason to be wary of him, but that was true before this deal. He should provide something close to ace production if everything goes right, but there are enough ways for things to go wrong to knock Carrasco down a tier. He should still likely be a top-20 pitcher, and his chances of more innings and wins are higher as a result of this move.
Cleveland acquires Andrés Giménez, Amed Rosario, Josh Wolfe and Isaiah Greene
The players Cleveland got back in this trade only matter so much for Fantasy purposes. Rosario and Giménez are very similar players from a Fantasy perspective -- you're hoping both can provide some stolen bases without hurting you too much anywhere else; neither is likely to be too helpful in power or batting average, but a .270-.280 average and double-digit homers wouldn't be too much to ask for. Rosario is a bit more likely to provide help with the bat, while Giménez should be the better bet for speed, but the profile is pretty similar, and there should be plenty of room for both to start in Cleveland.
Of course, the fact that neither is likely to have trouble finding playing time in Cleveland highlights why both might be pretty underwhelming Fantasy options. Cleveland's offense is bad, ranking 26th in runs per game in 2020 with Lindor. Neither Rosario nor Giménez is likely to make up for that loss. Both could hit relatively high up in the lineup, and you have to figure they'll have freedom to run, but volume and run opportunities could be limited.
Add it all up, and you're probably not looking at either until the last 50 picks of the top-200 in your Roto leagues. Giménez might have 30-steal potential, and it's not inconceivable he could hit 15 homers, but he needs to make more and better contact to really provide much value with the bat. He has a roughly 21% strikeout rate in Double-A and the majors, so a .270 batting averaging might be optimistic until he makes some improvement. Similarly, his 26.4% hard-hit rate means even double-digit homers might be a stretch unless he takes a step forward.
Rosario has shown upside with the bat, hitting .287 with 15 homers in 2019, but he attempted just one steal in 46 games last season, so it's fair to wonder how much help he'll be there. He also simply struggled in 2020 across the board, with his worst strikeout and walk rates since his rookie season, without any corresponding improvement in quality of contact. Given that, Giménez figures to be the better option on Draft Day, while Rosario may last into the 200s in many drafts.
As for the rest of the package … we're probably two years from having to think about either Wolfe or Greene outside of a Dynasty league.