Francisco Lindor trade rumors aren’t going to be dying down anytime soon.
With one year remaining on his contract with the Cleveland Indians, the All-Star shortstop will soon be one of the highest-paid players in baseball. All signs are currently pointing to his current club not being willing or able to meet such high demands.
But the writing has been on the wall for quite some time, and the Indians are in a precarious position when it comes to trading the 26-year-old considering they missed out on the most opportune time to trade him — which was last year when he had two years of term left.
Now, Cleveland is left trying to deal their star with one year remaining on his deal after coming off the worst statistical campaign of his career, slashing .258/.335/.415 with eight home runs and 27 RBI during the 60-game season.
Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com listed seven potential trade fits for Cleveland and Lindor — and a pair of NL East teams made the cut.
The Phillies were listed as the No. 4 option on Castrovince’s list, though they have both JT Realmuto and Didi Gregorius entering free agency this winter.
Lindor would obviously provide a massive upgrade to Gregorius should he walk, but the move would be a puzzling one based on the impending contract negotiations that would come with it.
Skepticism is already growing that the Phillies won’t meet the high price tag that Realmuto is expected to put forth as he tests the free-agency waters.
Letting the best catcher in baseball walk only to throw a big contract at Lindor would certainly seem hypocritical — especially when Bryce Harper continues to campaign for the Phillies to retain Realmuto.
Still, the Indians might take an interest in a young prospect like Alec Bohm or No. 2 prospect, Bryson Stott.
Their NL East rivals, the Mets, were listed as the No. 1 team on Castrovince’s list, citing the impending arrival of majority owner Steve Cohen as the fueling reason.
Cohen will undoubtedly bring the surge of funds necessary to retain Lindor should the Mets land him. The shortstop will easily be asking north of $20 million per season in his next deal.
But getting him will be the main issue. Cleveland’s return for the star will be minimized given the length of contract remaining and the struggles he experienced in 2020 — but it still will be sizable.
The Mets certainly have the assets to get a deal done, especially with a pair of shortstops in Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez. Granted, Gimenez’s breakthrough campaign this season might have Mets brass trying to hold onto him as an option to play second and third base as well in a more utility role.
Other potential names that could be floated out in hypothetical talks could include JD Davis, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, and No. 1 prospect Ronny Mauricio, who is also a shortstop.