After weeks of rumors, the Cleveland Indians traded shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets in a six-player trade on Thursday. Pitcher Carlos Carrasco will also be headed to the Mets, with Cleveland receiving shortstop Amed Rosario and three prospects - infielder Andres Gimenez, outfielder Isaiah Greene, and pitcher Ryan Wolf.
Lindor will be eligible for free agency after the 2021 season, which fueled speculation that Cleveland would try to move him. Many expect the Mets to sign Lindor to a long-term extension, although nothing has been reported yet. Just 27 years old, Lindor is a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner who has hit .285/.346/.488 in six seasons with Cleveland. Last year, he hit .258/.335/.415 with eight home runs in 60 games. He was particularly tough on the Royals, hitting .326/.381/.626 with 27 home runs in 92 career against Kansas City, his best numbers against any American League club. Among all active players with at least 25 games against the Royals, he had the fourth-highest OPS.
The Indians also send right-hander Carlos Carrasco to the Mets after he posted a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts in his first full season following his leukemia diagnosis in 2019. Carrasco has a 3.77 ERA in 11 seasons with Cleveland, leading the league in wins in 2017. He has two more years on his contract, with a $14 million club option for 2023.
Rosario has hit .268/.302/.403 in four seasons with the Mets, putting up a 2.4 WAR season in 2019. The 22-year old Gimenez hit .263/.333/.398 in 49 games in 2020, his first season in the big leagues. Josh Wolf was a 2019 second-round pick out of high school, and was ranked as the #9 prospect in the Mets farm system by MLB Pipeline. Isaiah Greene was a second-round pick in 2020 and was ranked #10.
Cleveland sheds about $44 million off their payroll in the #Mets trade, which is what they sought to do all winter.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 7, 2021
The Indians have traded Francisco Lindor, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco in the last 18 months.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) January 7, 2021
The Indians are projected to have a payroll under $50 million, and could compete with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the lowest payroll in baseball. They still feature a solid pitching staff with Shane Bieber, Zack Plesac, Aaron Civale, Triston McKenzie, and Logan Allen likely in the rotation, but they have lost closer Brad Hand and ace Mike Clevinger in the past year. And now the lineup will be without Lindor and Carlos Santana, who left for the Royals. Instead, the offense will rely on Rosario, Jose Ramirez, Franmil Reyes, Jake Bauers, Josh Naylor, and Bradley Zimmer.
ZIPS projected the Indians to be slightly better than the Royals before this trade. With this deal, it now looks like the Royals have a chance to be the third-best team in the division.
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