Seems like the MLB Hot Stove is heating up! The New York Mets and the Cleveland Indians (they’re still the Indians for 2021) pulled off a blockbuster six-player deal today that involved Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. The Mets will send Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Josh Wolf, and Isaiah Greene to Cleveland in exchange for Lindor and Carrasco. The latter two Mets players are minor leaguers.
What this means for the Mets
It means they are instantly contenders. Lindor just turned 27 and has the look of a future Hall of Famer in his prime. Carlos Carrasco is a solid, proven #2 or #3 starter with three years left on his contract. The Mets will pay him him an average of just over $12 million per season over those seasons, very affordable for a pitcher of his caliber.
Both of these guys fit in nicely. Carrasco will slot in behind Jacob deGrom in the Mets rotation. Assuming Steven Matz rebounds after a disastrous 2020 and Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman come back strong, this will be a good rotation.
Lindor instantly becomes the best player the Mets have. They can hit him 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, doesn’t matter. Surrounding him with guys like Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo means there will be no shortage of runs this season.
One wrinkle in this trade is that Lindor is an unrestricted free agent after this season. I assume Jared Porter and Steve Cohen traded for him with the understanding that they had a good chance to re-sign him after 2021 if all goes well. Francisco Lindor has the smile and swing to become a sensation in New York, and this new owner-GM duo isn’t playing around when it comes to winning. Don’t be surprised if he’s a Met for a while.
What this means for the Indians
Pain. That’s what it means. Pain. Especially for the fans. They just gave up the face of their franchise and their longest tenured player in Lindor and Carrasco, respectively. And for what?
Amed Rosario is whatever. He’s still just 25, but 1,564 PA at the big league level is a good sample size. He’s gonna hit for some power, steal some bases, swing at everything, and play so-so defense at shortstop. That’s Amed Rosario.
Andres Gimenez is the “centerpiece” of the deal for Cleveland. He was a top 100 prospect and got his first taste of the big leagues in 2020. He was good, especially for a 21-year-old, putting up 1.1 bWAR in 49 games while playing 2B, 3B, and SS. Now 22, he could be an All Star one day, especially if he develops his power stroke.
Will he ever be as good as Lindor? It is very likely he will not.
As for Isaiah Greene and Josh Wolf, they’ve barely played professional baseball. Greene is an outfielder drafted in the 2nd round in 2020, out of high school. COVID-19 wiped out his season. Wolf is a pitcher drafted in the 2nd round the year prior, also out of high school. He threw eight decent inning in Rookie Ball in 2019, and none in 2020, obviously.
The New York Mets fleeced the Cleveland Indians, in short.
How did this happen?
The Cleveland Indians got panicky maybe? I can’t be sure. They are clearly not in win-now mode, as they’ve lost multiple significant pieces to free agency (Brad Hand, Carlos Santana), traded away Mike Clevinger in the middle of 2020, and have now lost two more of their core pieces. But they could have gotten more for Carrasco and Lindor, there’s no question about that.
Economics might be behind this. Owners lost a lot of money in 2020 due to the shortened, spectator-less season. This will lead to tighter budgets heading into 2021, meaning less teams would have been willing to take on Lindor and Carrasco’s contracts. Since the Indians aren’t trying to win right now, aren’t a big market team, and only have one more offseason to get some value out of Lindor before they lose him in 2022 for nothing, it seems like they were overly-eager to make a deal. Carrasco was the sweetener, as perhaps the Mets understood how desperate they were, so they made exorbitant demands knowing Cleveland’s front office was extra-motivated to get something done.
Whatever the reasons were, this sucks for Cleveland’s fans and it’s awesome for Mets fans. Everything just lined up perfectly one way, while the inverse is true for the other.
So it goes. Get ready for the New York Mets to be extra-insufferable in 2021.