- Lindor On The Move
- Top Contenders and Their Offers
- Dodgers Proposed Offer
- Should LA Do It?
Lindor On The Move
The Indians announced that they intend to deal their All Star, and impending free agent, before the season starts. So let’s take a quick look at what Lindor brings to whatever team he joins.
Lindor just turned 27 this month and has already put in 6 full MLB seasons for us to analyze. And in that time he has put up an astounding 28.9 WAR by fangraphs with his immense defensive value and career line of .285/.346/.488. And almost identically to Seager, he has traded in some of his average for more power.
He has 99 career stolen bases to go with his 138 career homeruns. He’s been sturdy as a shortstop playing 158+ games from 2016 to 2018, 143 in 19, and all 60 in 2020. Even in his worst offensive season (2020) he was still exactly league average at his position while being incredible as short again. He was in the 96th percentile in outs above average.
He still put up 1.7 WAR, and has never put up less than 4 WAR in a 162 game season. He seems to be a 30-20 threat for at least a few more years. His sprint speed ranked only in the 65th percentile last year. But losing Turner doesn’t seem so bad if the top of the lineup becomes Lindor, Mookie, Seager. If the DH is here to stay, even better.
Top Contenders For Francisco
The Indians still want to compete next year so they want MLB ready talent, and pitching prospects whether they’re ready now or in a year or two. If you don’t have that, they expect you to pay more for the 1 year rental.
There is a long list of suiters for Lindor, and basically every team that has any room for Lindor will at least make a play. But outside of the Dodgers, there are 6 teams that are making the biggest push and here are all of their supposed offers.
- Blue Jays
- Send: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Alejandro Kirk (6th), Kevin Smith (19th)
- Get: Lindor
Blue Jays are looking to make a big playoff push next year. Guerrero Jr. lost a ton of weight, Bichette is part of the next great wave of shortstops, Biggio may be one of the next top second basemen, Ryu is as good of an ace as they can hope for, and Teoscar Hernández may have the highest ceiling of all of them.
Oh yeah, and top pitching prospect Nate Pearson looks like he can be the real deal for the next decade. And he’s just the beginning of a top 10 Blue Jays farm system.
And even though their infield is where most of their young talent lies, Biggio has also played the outfield well and Gurrero may be suited more for a DH or 1st baseman role. Either way, they would love to have Lindor lead off in front of Bichette, Guerrero, and Hernández. And are currently the odds favorites.
And they have one of the more modest offers for Lindor. Gurriel Jr. put up a line of .308/.348/.534 last year and definitely highlights the deal. Kirk is a talented catching prospect that put up a .983 OPS in his first 24 ABs. And Smith is a mid ranked SS/3B prospect who is ranked better defensively. However, he’s hit as many as 25 home runs in a season with 29 stolen bases.
Overall, this trade would work well for both sides and would probably benefit both teams long term. Even if Lindor doesn’t stay with Toronto, he’ll be able to coach the young kids in a direction towards a World Series. The only downside would be the shuffle to fit Lindor and possibly losing production from the other positions.
Meanwhile the Indians replace Lindor’s production through MLB ready depth at positions of need while only losing 1 year of Francisco. So for them, it would be an obvious win.
- Send: Rafael Marchan (7th), Francisco Morales (4th), Jhailyn Ortiz (19th), Bryson Scott (MLB 82nd Overall)
- Get: Lindor and Roberto Pérez
Realmuto is on the hot stove and even if he chooses Philadelphia, he won’t come cheap. But option B could be to replace Realmuto with another veteran (Pérez) and upgrade at shortstop via Lindor replacing Didi. So for the Phillies, this at least kills two free agent birds with one stone.
So the need and match for the Phillies is obvious. Lindor would slide right to the top of the lineup to hit above Harper, and emerging stud Alexc Bohm. And this would at least bridge the shortstop gap until next year’s SS sweepstakes. If they’re lucky, Lindor will extend before even testing the market.
And the Phillies need to dedicate money to their bullpen this offseason. Meaning the high cost may still be worth it. But they don’t have the MLB ready talent the Indians want.
Bryson Scott is the best talent the Phillies offer the Indians here as their number 2 prospect. He’s a first round pick from 2019 who is hopeful for a 2022 debut. He’s big at 6’3″, 200 lbs, and at only 23. He doesn’t stand out in any one tool but is above average across the board excluding a 45 grade on his arm. Troublesome if the Indians view him more as a 3rd baseman.
Morales is a tall, 21 year old righty with a good fastball and slider. He’s also expected around 2022. He has the makings of a mid rotation starter with strikeout stuff, but was moved to the pen for half of his 2019 A ball season.
Marchan is the Phillies best catching prospect and even played a few MLB games last season. He shines behind the plate and with a strong arm. But he’s slow and has yet to show average power with his 5’9″, 170 frame. Still he’s only 21, and a switch hitting catcher.
Finally, Ortiz is supposed to be the closest to MLB ready. He’s a big, righty, 21 year old, outfielder. At 6’3″, 215, he has a plus arm and power. He’s an average fielder so far, but could use better bat to ball skills to make up for his lack of speed. The potential is still undeniable if anyone can fix his strikeout habit.
Overall, this would be a huge haul for the Phillies to ship off for a one year replacement. They may try their odds on the free agent market considering they have a lot of money locked up in other stars right now. They probably want to see what they have in their system already. They can always try for Lindor or another shortstop next year.
- Send: Jose Garcia (6th), Austin Hendrick (MLB 78th overall), Jonathan India (5th), Nick Senzel, Tyler Stephenson (MLB 96th overall)
- Get: Lindor
The Reds are another team that has a massive hole at shortstop. And that hole feels bigger when you have Moustakas, Suarez, and Votto in the rest of the infield. And right now, potential trade piece, Jose Garcia, is the starting shortstop with no true shortstop behind him.
And even if Bauer doesn’t return, the Reds proved they are ready to compete. They would still have Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo at the head of a rotation with their two top pitching prospects on the way. Michael Lorenzen has also said it’s his goal to be a starter all of next year. If he achieves that, that means it was bad for opposing hitters.
Their bullpen still has plenty of talent with even more on the market. Considering they don’t need a closer, they can likely have their pick of second grade arms to fill out their pen.
And inserting Lindor to the top of this lineup would definitely make them contenders in a shifting NL Central. With the Cubs likely beginning a rebuild, the throne is up for grabs.
As for the price, they would be sending 5 pieces for 1 year on Lindor. Nick Senzel being the only MLB proven talent, and so far underperforming.
After him, Hendrick is the prize offer. He’s the 3rd ranked Red’s prospect and 78th overall as an outfielder. The lefty was the 12th overall pick last year and is still only 19 with no experience yet. He’s graded as an all around player with plus power. But he’s a big gamble with a 2024 ETA.
Stephenson just touched the majors last year with 17 ABs. But his 1.047 OPS was a good sign. And at 96th overall as a catching prospect, he holds a lot of value in this trade. He’s looking to start his first MLB season next year and could be a steady piece for the next wave of Indian pitchers.
Garcia had a larger taste last year with 67 at bats while playing shortstop. But his OPS of .400 is worrisome. But those ABs would likely have been in the minors in a normal year. And he’s slashed a healthy .261/.315/.386 there after a nice sophomore season of .280/.343/.436 in 2019.
And finally Jonathan India. He’s a 3B prospect who is supposed to debut next year. He last officially played in AA in 2019. He had a career year batting .270/.414/.378 there. He’s the Reds 5th prospect and ranks average or better across the board. He doesn’t really show any weakness or elite strength in his game. He’s a solid 6 feet, 200 pounds and a former 5th overall pick.
Overall, the Reds would be paying a huge price for this Lindor rental. We think that if the Reds go for this, it is because they made big Free Agent moves. They probably would resign Bauer or bring in another big bat for more protection around Castellanos.
- Send: Clint Frazier, Miguel Andújar, Luis Gil (5th), Albert Abreu (12th)
- Get: Lindor
The three teams left, including the Yankees, seem like the most obvious picks excluding the Dodgers for Lindor. And mostly because of the talent they have to offer Cleveland back. It goes without saying that the Yankees would love to add Lindor.
Clint Frazier has long seemed like an all star just waiting for a chance to play in a crowded outfield. Unfortunately for him, the Yankees were heavily invested in Judge and Stanton. But Cleveland will gladly welcome back their 2013 first round pick and his career MLB OPS of .806 and MiLB OPS of .812.
Andújar has also been often injured and caught in the Yankees log jam of talent. He was once the future for New York before Urshela turned out to be better than the guy he was filling in for. He’s still only 25 and showed all star potential in his one healthy season in 2018. He slashed .297/.328/.527 with 27 homers and 47 doubles.,
Luis Gil, is a 22 year old right hander with an electric fastball. He often touches triple digits and as a starter. He’s only touched as high as A+ in the Yankees system in 2019, but he could possibly be in a bullpen by next year. His career ERA so far is 2.74 to go with 264 strikeouts in only 207 innings.
And that leaves Abreu. He’s a 25 year old right hander with a great fastball curveball combo. He has a plus change up as well, but lacks control over his fantastic arsenal. He made his MLB debut last season and is ready to give the majors a full season shot. He’s worked as a starter, but may be better suited for a bullpen role long term considering he’s never reached over 102 innings in a year.
So far, this is our favorite match of all the possible trades. Sadly the rich may get richer because Lindor to the Yankees is a win-win. Lindor could be the Yankees answer to the Dodger’s decade of Mookie. As for the Indians, Fraizer, Andujar, and the pitchers would probably all slide into roles on a division championship competing team.
- Send: Andrés Giménez, Jeff McNeil, Pete Crow-Armstong (5th), Ryley Gilliam (25th)
- Get: Lindor and Austin Hedges
After the Yankees, the Mets arguably make the most sense. Everyone has heard the “new management needs to make a splash argument”, but Cohen has been vocal about not looking to make a big signing. And now Cano made the news for bad reasons.
That he wants to rebuild the system to model what Friedman has done with the 2020 Championship Dodgers. And with the Mets currently being ranked 20th out of the 30 farm systems, he has his work cut out for him.
But we have a different argument as to why the Mets need Lindor this next year. And it’s that the 2020 last place Mets, can easily be the 2021 World Series Champions. But their best window of the 2020’s may only be these next couple years.
In 2020, the Mets were the 3rd ranked offense in OPS. They were only behind the two NLCS competitors, the Braves and the Dodgers respectively. 4th was the Padres, and 5th the Yankees. So clearly, there is a correlation between OPS and an offense producing.
They had the highest team batting avearge in baseball. 2nd in OBP. They were 3rd in total bases. Even 9th in homers in their massive and cold park. But for some reason they were 13th in runs, and 11th in RBIs.
(Dodgers and Braves were 1st and 2nd in runs and RBIs to go with their 1st and 2nd rankings in OPS). So something wasn’t clicking for this Mets team that was hitting with the best of them. It’s possible that a true leadoff hitter in Lindor could be what the Mets are missing. A lot like how Mookie was the missing leadoff cog for a Dodger’s championship.
Beyond that, Jacob DeGrom turns 32 and may not be as effective when he loses his upper 90’s velocity. Stroman is only back on a one year qualifying offer. Syndergaard should hopefully be back to help next season once he recovers from TJ.
But by the next season, the latter 2 might be gone. Leaving a 33 year old DeGrom as the lone stud of a Mets rotation. And with other players in the offense on the clock as well, the Mets will have to look completely different by 2023.
The Mets are ready to strike, but their strength is dwindling. The cost and benefits need to be carefully weighed. And opinions definitely differ.
The Mets obviously gain a likely, all star, starting shortstop and a veteran backup catcher. But they give up two MLB proven MLB pieces and two big prospects.
Giménez came out of no where last year (even though he was the Met’s #3 prospect) and stole the Mets starting SS role from Rosario. He’s only 22 but showed elite speed and defense as promised. But he surprised with his hot streaks that carried him to a .263/.333/.398 line in 49 games. And going 8 for 9 in stolen bases out of the gate means he could steal 40 in his prime.
McNeil will be even harder to part with. He has value with his defensive versatility, but has shown that he is an elite contact hitter in his first 1000 at bats. When he was called up for almost 250 at bats in 2018 he surprised slashing .329/.381/.471. He then followed up that with his breakout 2019 campaign of .318/.384/.531. And now after a solid 2020 that saw him slash .311/.383/.454, no one is doubting that McNeil is the real McDeal anymore.
But the Indians also want 2020 1st round pick, Pete Crow-Armstrong. He was drafted straight out of high school with comps to Cody Bellinger as a tall lefty outfielder with speed and a great glove. He’s a plus hitter but has yet to develop his power. But at 18 and still only 180 pounds to go with his growing 6’1″ frame, it’ll come.
And to top it off is RHP Ryley Gilliam. He’s a small 24 year old at 5’10”, 170 lbs. But he has a wicked fastball/curveball combo. He excelled his way through the minors in the bullpen, but stumbled when he hit 10 games in AAA. Still he has 87 strikeouts to go with his first 56 IP. His one weakness would be his walk rate of 5 BB per nine innings so far. If he can lower that, he has future closer potential.
All in all, the Mets would be giving up a fortune for Lindor. And it’s quite the gamble considering he needs to massively outperform Gimenez next year to make the trade make any sense at all. Still, the Mets could use a steady bat atop their almost complete lineup.
If we were the Mets, we would still trade for Lindor/Hedges, but try and sweeten the pot with a prospect back as well. However, only if they are willing to build the next decade around Lindor. Otherwise, they need to see what they have with their talent now and make the jump with another acquisition.
- Send: Harrison Bader, Tommy Edman, Johan Oviedo (12th), Angel Rondon (13th)
- Get: Lindor
And finally, the Cardinals are the last team with serious interest in Lindor. And they also have the MLB ready talent Cleveland desperately wants in return.
It starts with Harrison Bader. He was the 100th pick of the 2015 draft and has never quite lived up to his potential at the plate. Last season was actually his highest OPS of the majors so far with a line of .226/.336/.443. A bitter disappointment after never OPSing below .800 at any level of the minors.
But he is only 26, an age a lot of players begin to break out. And even with his meager production at the plate, his elite speed and defense are just about guaranteed for the next few years. If he finds it at the plate, he can do everything Frankie does and more. But so far, that seems unlikely.
Tommy Edman has proven quite capable at the plate as well as elite speed and defense. He regressed from his .850 OPS in 2019 to .685 in 2020, but everything about last year needs to be taken with a grain of salt. He slashed .286/.353/.415 throughout the minors, finishing with a career high .846 OPS in AAA. We’ll assume his talent will consistently be somewhere in the middle.
And because those two come with quite the pedigree and experience, the prospects being offered are only mid level. They are both RHP prospects supposedly ready to debut.
Oviedo is 22 and a big 6’5″, 245. He relies on his elite fastball and plus slider. He follows those with a curve and change that seem usable. But his control has been iffy. He seems to be a low end starter with a lot of durability to eat up innings.
Rondon is also 22 but much more evenly balanced. He’s 6’1″, 205 and relies on his plus fastball and curveball. He works in a changeup as well that could use improvement if his other pitches don’t develop further.
But the well rounded prospect averages around a strikeout an inning to go with his career ERA of 3.01. In 2019, he pitched a full 160 innings to go 11-7 to the tune of a 2.93 ERA. We think there may be an ace in the making here.
Still, the Cardinals would get Lindor in return without making an holes in their current roster. And if they land Lindor, it means that their division rival Reds didn’t. Making them the clear favorite for the division unless the Reds make significant offseason additions.
Overall we like this trade for everyone but Lindor. A player as exciting as Lindor deserves to be traded to a serious competitor. He would have to be the Cardinals savior for this to end with a ring.
And now, the Los Angeles Dodgers supposed offer for Lindor.
- Dustin May
- Matt Beaty
- Cody Thomas
- Francisco Lindor
What’s interesting about the Dodger’s offer to the Indians, is that it is almost a 1 for 1 swap as far as perceived talent.
Dustin May is the clear prize for the Indians here. He is a young, controllable pitcher, who looks like a perennial Cy Young candidate. He is an ace in the making and was the Dodger’s top prospect behind, #2 overall, Gavin Lux. He was ranked 32nd overall by MLB. 10th among RHP prospects.
His fastball was graded a 65 out of 80. And his curveball and changeup were both graded 60. His changeup was average and his control was just above par. But somehow that only earned him an overall grade of 55.
He quickly moved through the ranks of the minors before posting a 2.30 ERA in his first 5 AAA starts. That earned him his promotion to the show and he’s been almost lights out since.
He’s 5-4 with a 2.98 ERA in his first 26 games (14 starts) of his career. He only has 90.2 IP under his belt, and a disappointing 76 strikeouts, but he looks to be on his way to a very successful career.
Matt Beaty and Cody Thomas are more than just throw-ins in all fairness. Beaty was a huge contributor the the Dodgers winning the division in 2019. He came out of no where to produce a line of .265/.317/.458 when the Dodgers desperately needed it.
But what isn’t shown in just a line was the production he brought. In 99 games he knocked in 46 RBI, scored 36 runs, stole 5 bases, and had 19 walks to 33 strikeouts. He OPs’d 1.067 with RISP. He was clutch from the very beginning.
Cody Thomas was a quarterback stud as well as outfielder before committing to baseball after college. He’s 26, 6’4″, and 211 pounds and a classic power hitter. He would likely need to prove himself for a spot at the MLB roster, but he’s capable. He has a career line of .255/.329/.474 and seems like a 20 homer 10 stolen base threat every year.
Should The Dodgers Do It?
The Dodgers already have a star shortstop they could sign to a long term deal. They have a Lindor type player already in Betts. Kershaw won’t be around forever and Aces are the key to postseason success.
But the future looks bright as long as Buehler, May, Urias, and Gonsolin are in Dodger blue.
As fun as a year of Betts, Lindor, Seager would be, it’s just not practical for the future of the Dodgers. If they want Lindor over Seager, they may as well hope that he’s available next year.
And as for Cleveland, they’re also better off accepting one of the more well rounded offers from another team. They have a serious ace in Cy Young winner, Shane Bieber, for now. And as good as May is, it’s better to have two potential aces than 1.
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