Lindor was long-rumored to be departing Cleveland, who are intent on shedding payroll amid financial difficulties. The Puerto Rican infielder is in the final year of his contract, but his new team is in a great position to secure one of the game’s best infielders in his prime.
After upgrading at catcher with James McCann and bolstering the bullpen with Trevor May, it was only a matter of time before the Mets moved to pick up some starpower this offseason, be it via free agency or trade.
The signing gives an immediate boost to an already dangerous lineup, and boosts defense up the middle for New York. Over his six-year career, Lindor has put up a .285 batting average, and was awarded the Gold Glove for his defensive prowess in 2016 and 2019.
For other Mets players, the new signing is a dream come true. May is thrilled to not have to face his new teammate, who he faced often in the AL Central while playing with Minnesota. Lindor’s 18 plate appearances are the third-most for a player against May, batting .295 against him with a handful of hits and an RBI.
“This would make it impossible for me to face him, and I’m cool with that. Very very cool with it,” tweeted May following the announcement of the trade.
Not to be ignored is Carlos Carrasco, who joins a strong pitching rotation that’s missing depth and consistency. “Cookie” turns 34 this year, but brings great talent to the mound as well as a strong veteran presence on a relatively young team. Carrasco recorded a career-high ERA of 2.91 in the 2020 season, 3.77 over 11 seasons in Cleveland.
The departure of Lindor and Carrasco is a finishing touch to Cleveland’s fall from grace. Just a handful of years ago, they were facing off against the Cubs in the World Series, but now no players remain from the 2016 American League Champion team.
With the Twins and White Sox heating up in the AL Central, Cleveland must quickly rebuild their franchise, hoping not to slip out of relevance.
Departing New York is a package ripe with young talent, highlighted by Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez, as well as prospects Josh Wolf and Isiah Green. Rosario and Giménez both rose through the Mets farm systems as highly rated prospects, with Rosario spending eight years in the organization and Giménez five.
Rosario never quite met his high expectations as a prospect, but still developed into a talented major leaguer. In Giménez’s debut season, he put on a great defensive show, impressing with his bat as well. Both are young MLB-level players that have plenty of room to grow and improve.
Despite the rebuild, these young talents are ones to watch in Cleveland. The return gives them talented cost-effective players to patch up their roster as they move towards a transformative rebuild of their club and identity.
After offloading Carrasco and Lindor, Cleveland’s payroll for 2021 plummeted to the league’s lowest at just under $23 million. The Mets now rank third in the league at nearly $162 million.
The objective for the Mets now turns to locking up their new superstar on a long-term deal. Lindor has never been one to negotiate contracts in season, so if Steve Cohen wants to keep Lindor in Queens, he’ll have to reach an agreement ahead of Spring Training or at the conclusion of the 2021 season.
It seems the interest in an extension is mutual, and regardless of his contract, Lindor is ready to make some noise in his new home. It may just be January, but Mets fans, players, and staff are itching to get to baseball season.
“They say smiles are very contagious. I’m going to bring Francisco Lindor and hopefully, that is good enough for the fans,” said Lindor in his press conference Monday. “If I get to play the greatest game in the world, why not smile?”