The trade discussions involving the Cleveland Indians and superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor will certainly be the focus of the offseason.
It is time to have an uncomfortable conversation that nobody wants to have. A discussion involving a potential trade of Francisco Lindor.
This particular topic has been mentioned by ESPN’s Buster Olney for over a year now. Mostly during last offseason and while the Indians held trade talks about Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. Olney is not the only one has mentioned the possibility of trading Lindor. Jon Morosi tweeted about the possibility of trading Lindor this morning.
Mookie Betts being dealt seems like a foregone conclusion. Kris Bryant could also find a new home before next season starts. Out of three, Francisco Lindor may be the most difficult to find a trading partner for this offseason. The reason? Getting a quality return for a premier player at a premier position.
Yankees are interested in Francisco Lindor
Of course the New York Yankees expressed interest in acquiring Lindor. The Yankees always seem to have interest in just about anyone and everyone. The problem for the Yankees is that they do not have the required assets in order to acquire Lindor. Well, assets that they would actually trade. Yankee fans seem to think some package consisting of Clint Frazier, Estevan Florial, Miguel Andujar and Deivi Garcia could get the job done. It won’t. Frazier is a clear liability defensively, Andjuar has future first baseman written all over him, Florial has not progressed in the minors and Garcia’s relatively small stature is an issue.
The only way that Lindor would end up in The Bronx is if the Yankees are giving up some of the current MLB players such as Gleyber Torres in addition to prospects which they do not have. New York would not do that under circumstance, so they appear to be out.
Dodgers are the real contenders for Francisco Lindor
If there is a team that could realistically acquire Francisco Lindor, it is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cleveland and Los Angeles already held lengthy trade discussions over the past year involving Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. Restarting trade talks involving a different player does not seem to be out of the question.
More importantly unlike the Yankees, the Dodgers have the proper assets to acquire Lindor and it will not take them out of contending. Players such as Alex Verdugo, Gavin Lux, Dustin May, etc. would be of interest. There also Major League players which the Dodgers could also move. Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Max Muncy come to mind. If Cleveland does trade Lindor they would need a replacement shortstop for 2020. Lux or Seager could give them an option. Lux would fit the way the Indians operate better (younger players under team control) than Seager would, but both could be considered as options.
When should the Indians consider making a trade of Francisco Lindor?
This situation is very much reminiscent of the Trevor Bauer trade talks last season. A team acquiring Bauer would hypothetically have two playoff runs with their new acquisition compared to just one if acquired after the season. The return for Lindor would be less after the 2020 season. What Cleveland must do is if they get a “Godfather offer” for Lindor, seriously consider it. If they are unable to get that type of offer, evaluate the team and their performance as the trade deadline approaches. If a surprise team emerges like last season (Minnesota) or if the team as a whole takes a step back, trading Lindor seems more likely than if they are firmly in control of the division.
It would make the most sense that a trade of Francisco Lindor is entirely dependent on the performance of the team in the upcoming season.