The Padres were winning the offseason with all their moves of late, but the Mets stepped up today and tossed their hat into the ring with their shocking deal with the Indians. What does the Lindor deal mean? Let’s explore.
Mets Receive: Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco
Cleveland Receives: Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez, Josh Wolf, Isaiah Greene
Lindor is a luminous talent. He can hit, can hit for power, can run, can play defense… he literally can do it all. He’s the ideal centerpiece of a franchise, a player who also brings unbridled enthusiasm and passion to the game to energize his teammates and fans. Oh, the last three full seasons (2017-19), his average is .278-34-85-110-21 as an elite fantasy option, which he will continue to be at age 27. He’s looking for a new contract from the Mets, which he will certainly get.
Carrasco turns 34 years of age and he’s had a health issue and arm woes for years. Last season was still more of the same impressive work on the bump though as he punched out 82 batters in 68 innings with a 2.91 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. The walk rate doubled from 2019, and that’s something to keep an eye on, but Carrasco should still be considered a top-25 arm in the fantasy game, especially since he’s moving to the NL as we still aren’t sure that the senior circuit will have the designated hitter this season.
Rosario and Gimenez seem likely to slide right into the starting spots at second and shortstop for the Cleveland club.
Gimenez emerged last year to take the starting shortstop gig from Rosario in New York. He has near-elite speed, 20 thefts are certainly possible in a full season, and he didn’t show any lefty/righty fade last season. Gimenez too isn’t the most patient hitter out there, and he’s not exactly lighting up the Statcast data either, making it doubtful he can sustain a batting average of note. He could certainly emerge as a stable offensive option, but his fantasy upside is muted when compared to Rosario.
A year removed from a season of .287-15-72-75-19, last year was horrid for Rosario who had a .643 OPS and zero steals. Rosario is just 25 years old though and, again, he was just a steal and three RBI away from a 20-75-75-20 season. The lack of running last year was vexing and his swing at everything in the air approach will always leave him vulnerable in the AVG/OBP columns. He’s best suited to hit in the bottom third of the order right now, though the Indians might still slot him near the top. Tons of talent here, but tons of refinement needed.
It is clear that some teams are in sheer panic mode when it comes to paying big salaries. On weekly basis, we are seeing some organizations shedding salary, and on a daily basis, free agent after free agent continues to blow in the wind waiting for non-existent contract offers. If you’ve followed my work the last couple of months, you know that I’ve been talking about a situation such as this coming to pass.
Are trades like this understandable?
Are trades like this good for baseball?
However, this is the nature of the free-market economy that MLB operates under.
There will be calls for salary caps, or perhaps more pertinent salary floors, from many. The truth is people everywhere, including the owners, lost money in 2020. Those owners are likely to lose more money this year as well. The owners are therefore doing what they believe to be best for their business.
We can disagree with how they are implementing changes, totally fair to do that, but when you look around the baseball landscape how many teams seem truly interested in adding payroll right now? I would posit, and to date the data seems to support, that the majority of teams simply aren’t willing to continue to pay out copious amounts of money right now, especially if you aren’t an elite-level talent. The spreadsheet era of baseball is upon us, for better or worse, though in this writers’ eyes, it is clear to see that it is for the worse.