Cleveland trades Francisco Lindor to the Mets
I had a history teacher in high school you used to love saying “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.” (Which, I know that’s not his quote, but it’s where I heard it first.) Well, history hasn’t repeated itself exactly from last winter’s Mookie Betts trade fiasco as there are some obvious differences between him and Francisco Lindor and the situations the led to their respective trades, but it’s hard to say this one doesn’t at least rhyme a bit. On Thursday, seemingly out of nowhere, a blockbuster was pulled off and the Blake Snell trade was no longer the marquee move of the winter. Cleveland sent Francisco Lindor along with Carlos Carrasco to the Mets in exchange for a pair of young shortstops in Andrés Giménez and Amed Rosario, along with a couple prospects in pitcher Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene.
I’m honestly not even sure where to start. For the Mets, this is incredible and they are not done yet. They may be out on some bigger names — more on that in a second — but they’ll add more and they will likely be one of the best teams in the league by the time the dust settles. Here, they get a bonafide superstar in Lindor around whom they can build if they’re willing to pay what it will cost to extend him. Lindor is set to hit free agency at the end of the year, but there’s little reason to believe new owner Steve Cohen won’t be willing to pay that price. There are many great shortstops in baseball right now, but I would put Lindor at the top, even if Fernando Tatís Jr. might have something to say about that soon. Whether he’s one or two or three doesn’t matter, though. The Mets got a superstar and immediate fan favorite, to say nothing of the addition of Carrasco to their rotation.
As for Cleveland, well, they are an embarassment. Let’s call it what it is. This is a team that has been consistently very good for almost a decade, and they had a chance to continue to be just that with their one-two punch in Lindor and José Ramírez. And in comparison to the Betts situation, Lindor was seemingly much more open to an extension. (This is not a defense of Red Sox ownership, to be clear. I’ve made my thoughts on the Betts trade clear, and have very little interest in relitigating that right now.) Cleveland simply did not want to spend the money to keep one of the faces of the league on their roster for a long time, to say nothing of trading a man who just beat cancer and who took a hometown discount specifically to stay in Cleveland. Shameful. They don’t care about their fans.
This is the way of baseball right now, and it is a major problem. If these owners don’t have enough money, or aren’t willing to spend enough more (which is the real issue), required to run a baseball team, they simply should not own a baseball team. Go buy some Chilis franchises or whatever my dudes. Let people who actually like baseball run the teams. Please. I’m begging you. Some reporters may say this is actually a good deal “under the circumstances” but that is a pretty meaningless when you don’t provide the context that the cirumstances are entirely self-imposed. And before you play the pandemic card, it’s been entirely clear to everyone that this kind of trade was coming for Cleveland before COVID ever hit. As I said on the ol’ Twitter machine yesterday, Moneyball was not about sabermetrics. Moneyball was about taking advantage of inefficiencies in the market. Right now, the biggest inefficiency is being willing to pay for good baseball players. Only a few teams are willing to take advantage.
As for the Red Sox angle of this, they were never going to trade for Lindor, even though they could have matched this package theoretically and potentially set up an infield of (third to first) Bogaerts, Lindor, insert second baseman here, Devers — or moved J.D. Martinez and put Devers at DH, or put Lindor at second, or whatever alignment you want) while also adding a very reasonably priced — and quite good — Carrasco. But that was never on the table, I suspect. Instead the big ripple effect here is that the Mets may now be out on George Springer, which in turn would make them bigger players for Jackie Bradley Jr. And if the Mets, one of those few teams willing to pay for good players, are in with more of a focus, that’s not good news for the Red Sox.
Astros sign Ryne Stanek
Usually when a player gets a major-league deal he at least gets like an hour on Twitter where people are talking about him. Poor Ryne Stanek couldn’t even get that due to the Lindor trade and, well, *gestures at the world*. But Stanek did indeed sign a major-league deal, going to the Astros on a one-year contract worth $1.1 million. Stanek, you may remember, came up with the Rays and was one of their original openers, pitching solidly in that role plus a late inning one in his couple years there. He wasn’t a star, but he did well enough. He was traded to Miami midway through 2019, and things have been rough since then. Houston is betting on a bounce back there.
This is one of those relievers I could have seen Boston targeting as a secondary player this winter. They clearly need someone better than this as well who can slot into the late innings, but I would expect some sort of cheap addition to be added to the middle relief depth as well. Stanek was one option and I’d expect them to look at guys in that price range, but there are others available. And, personally, I know it’s a small sample but Stanek walking eight batters per nine innings since going to Miami has me concerned, so I’m not overly upset about missing out there.