The World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros isn't yet over, but the offseason trade market is shaping up to be a doozy. On Monday, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to pursue a trade for Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor this winter, potentially putting another young star on the move.
Lindor, 26 in a couple weeks, is one of the best players in the game. Over the past three seasons, he's hit .278/.342/.514 (122 OPS+) while averaging 34 home runs and 21 stolen bases and providing outstanding defense at short. He won't be a free agent until after the 2021 season, yet Cleveland's ownership has all but conceded they won't pony up to keep him in town.
As such, it's not a matter of if Cleveland will trade Lindor, but when and what they'll receive in return. Obviously both parts are unknowable, though if the Dodgers are serious they would become the favorites to land Lindor, for they have the motivation to improve, the financial means to extend him, and the prospect wealth to make it worth Cleveland's while.
There's no telling if Andrew Friedman would be willing to part with second baseman Gavin Lux or right-handed pitcher Dustin May -- the two most considered his top prospects. The Dodgers could entertain packages built around fellow right-handers Tony Gonsolin and Josiah Gray, catcher Keibert Ruiz and/or second baseman Jeter Downs. Obviously the package would also include some lesser-known types -- for example, league sources have told CBS Sports that small right-hander Gerardo Carrillo has become a popular ask in negotiations due to his spin rates.
The Dodgers would also have to figure out what to do with incumbent shortstop Corey Seager, who too will be a free agent after the 2021 season. It's possible Seager would be part of the package heading to Cleveland or, at least, involved as part of a three-team swap.
If Lindor is indeed made available -- and Cleveland figures to listen, at minimum -- then this winter's trade market could be stacked with star young players. In addition to Lindor (and Seager), league sources speculated to CBS Sports that the Boston Red Sox could entertain offers for Mookie Betts -- especially if J.D. Martinez doesn't opt out of his contract; that the New York Mets will likely resume shopping Noah Syndergaard, who they pushed aggressively late at the deadline; that the Chicago Cubs will contemplate moving Kris Bryant, Javy Baez and even potentially Anthony Rizzo in an effort to reshape their roster; and that the Houston Astros could move George Springer or Carlos Correa to create luxury tax breathing room. And so on.
To be clear: not all of those names will be moved, and there's a difference between taking the market's temperature and making a serious run at trading a player. But it should be concerning that so many budding stars could be dealt this winter -- after all, this is the supposed era of building around youth -- and that the motivation in a few of those cases is financially driven. At some point, teams risk alienating their fans -- and removing all doubt about their priorities.