The New York Mets have acquired superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor in a six-player trade from Cleveland, the teams announced Thursday. Lindor, a 27-year-old four-time All-Star, has been a long time subject of trade rumors and is set to reach free agency after the 2021 season. The trade also sends veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco to the Mets.
|Mets acquire||Cleveland acquires|
SS Francisco Lindor
INF Andres Gimenez
RHP Carlos Carrasco
SS Amed Rosario
RHP Josh Wolf
OF Isaiah Greene
Lindor is set to earn $20 million this winter in his final year of arbitration, and Cleveland has been eager to move him with the aims of cutting payroll for the upcoming season. Cleveland would rather get a package in return than allow him to walk for a draft pick next winter. The Mets, meanwhile, will now try to lock up Lindor to a long-term extension.
In 2020, Lindor took a slight step back offensively during the 60-game slate, hitting .258/.335/.415 with a career-worst .750 OPS. But the four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner's long-term numbers paired with his premium defense at short are extremely impressive. Carrasco, who turns 34 in March, is owed $27 million over the next two seasons, including a $3 million buyout for the 2023 season. The right-hander -- who overcame a Leukemia diagnosis in 2019 -- recorded a 2.91 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP and 10.85 K/9 in 68 innings (12 games).
In the Cleveland return, the club will receive Rosario and Gimenez as the headliners for the package, with Wolf and Greene as minor-league prospects. The Mets were hoping for a breakout season from Rosario, 25, but he hit career-lows at the plate, slashing .252/.272/.371 with 34 strikeouts in 46 games. Gimenez, 22, played in 49 games in 2020 (.263/.333/.398) despite having never played above Double-A before last season. He can handle either of the middle-infield positions.
Greene, 19, was drafted by the Mets in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft, while Wolf, 20, was drafted by the Mets in the second round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Wolf and Greene were ranked within the Mets' top 10 prospect list. It is surprising that the Mets were able to hold on to both Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis considering Cleveland is in desperate need for more outfield depth.
So what's the fantasy impact of the Lindor deal? CBS Sports experts broke it down on the latest episode of Fantasy Baseball Today. Listen below:
Here are three things to know about the trade and the fallout.
1. The Mets have been busy, is there more to come?
New Mets owner Steve Cohen is having eventful first offseason. They brought back starter Marcus Stroman, signed reliever Trevor May to a two-year contract, agreed to a four-year contract with catcher James McCann and now have added one of the elite shortstops in the game to their roster.
On top of all the recent moves, Mets second baseman Robinson Cano was suspended for the 2021 MLB season after his second positive PED test. As a result, Cano was forced to forfeit his $24 million salary, which gave the club an unexpected and additional $20.25 million for the 2021 season.
All this to say, are the Mets done this offseason? Or, are there still more big moves to come? New York, after all, has been connected to top free-agent center fielder George Springer this winter. Springer would be the final addition to close out a strong offensive outfield, playing alongside Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. Outside of Springer, there's still the possibility for the Mets to seal the deal on other top free agents like starter Trevor Bauer. Bauer, the 2020 NL Cy Young winner, could help fill out their rotation for the 2021 season. There's also the priority of locking up Conforto with a contract extension, sooner rather than later. Conforto, who turns 28 in March, is one year away from free agency. Only time will tell, but I wouldn't shut the door completely just yet on more checks being cut by Cohen.
The Mets, under Cohen, are hoping to return to contention next season after a disappointing 2020 in which they failed to earn a spot in the expanded postseason. The Mets went 26-34 and tied for last place in the NL East in the 60-game season. Thus far this winter, Cohen has lived up to his commitment to an aggressive opening statement during his first offseason as an MLB owner.
With their busy winter, the Mets have only upped the pressure on themselves for next year. With team president Sandy Alderson and new general manager Jared Porter as the new head honchos in New York, they're tasked with delivering on Cohen's desire to win a World Series within the next three to five years. In 2021, the Mets will be looking to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016. New York has enjoyed just one winning season in the last four years, a disappointing run given a core that has included Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Conforto and Pete Alonso, among others.
2. This is a big setback for Cleveland
Cleveland may have just officially lost its chance to win a championship in the foreseeable future. Before the club traded Lindor and Carrasco, it had already lost Carlos Santana and Mike Clevinger in 2020 -- all members of the club that made a run to the 2016 World Series.
Since Cleveland owner Paul Dolan proved his unwillingness to invest in payroll at levels befitting a contender, it's going to take some serious reworking to get back to playoff status. Losing Lindor is a huge setback for the club, especially in the competitive American League Central, where clubs like the Chicago White Sox and, hey, even the Kansas City Royals are making moves this winter to get better.
Cleveland lost lost the 2016 World Series in Game 7, blew a 2-0 series lead in the 2017 ALDS, was swept in the 2018 ALDS, missed the postseason entirely in 2019 and was swept in the 2020 AL Wild Card series. The franchise hasn't won the World Series since 1948. The new era for Cleveland will also soon be commemorated with a forthcoming name change.
3. Carrasco provides much-needed rotation depth
The New York Mets were in need of extra rotation depth this winter, and while Carlos Carrasco isn't a big-name starter in his prime, he'll still certainly going to help the club's starting rotation. After Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman, the drop off is significant. The Mets will be without Noah Syndergaard until at least late in the first half of the upcoming season, after he underwent Tommy John surgery in March. There's Seth Lugo, who's coming off a 6.15 ERA 2020 season; David Peterson, whose 2020 rookie season was promising; and Steven Matz, who avoided arbitration with a one-year deal after a rough 2020 campaign. Carrasco could fill in as the club's No. 3 or 4 and be able to provide reliable innings. Ideally, the Mets would do best with one more starting pitcher addition, and there are plenty still available on the market.