Indians include free Cookie in Lindor trade to Mets

In one deal, the New York Mets catapulted themselves into serious World Series contenders and potentially secured the services of their “face of the franchise” for the rest of the decade.

The deal, in case you missed it, sees the Cleveland Indians send superstar shortstop and perpetual smiling machine, Francisco Lindor, to the Mets, along with ace pitcher, Carlos Carrasco.

In return, the Indians receive two talented yet uninspiring shortstops in Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, plus two prospects: Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene.

In 2016, I watched almost every Indians game. It was a time when 22-year-old Lindor and 23-year-old Jose Ramirez burst onto the scene. Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli both launched 34 homers, and all of the front five starters notched double-digit wins.

It’s possible that the 2016 World Series, when the Cubs came back after the rain delay to win Game Seven, was the greatest sporting occasion I’ve witnessed.

So, although I don’t follow the Indians, I have a soft spot for the Tribe, especially the Class of 2016. Which is why this deal looks horrific to me.

In Lindor, the Mets now have the best shortstop in the game. Come back to me in the year 2025 if you want to talk about Fernando Tatis Jr. Not only is Lindor outstanding with the glove and the bat, he is charismatic, he is photogenic, he is charitable, he is socially aware.

Undoubtedly, the Mets have given themselves a big advantage in the competition to sign Lindor to a long-term deal. Just look how it worked out for the Los Angeles Dodgers with Mookie Betts.

If the bottomless pit of money belonging to Mets’ new owner, Steve Cohen, can secure Lindor for the next eight years, and given the self-importance of the New York media, then maybe the Puerto Rican becomes the most recognisable baseball player on the planet.

Lindor moving from Cleveland this year was almost inevitable. With the Indians unable to tie up the 27-year-old, and his desire to test free agency, the club had little choice other than to accept the best offseason proposal.

Although, as a side note, just a matter of hours before the trade was announced, veteran reporter Paul Hoynes of, posted an article suggesting Lindor might open the season with the Indians.

The inclusion of Carrasco in the deal signals the end of the Indians attempt at competing in the AL Central for the near future. Since 2014, covering more than 1,000 innings, the Venezualan has averaged 10.2 SO/9 with 3.41 ERA (3.14 FIP). And he battled leukaemia during this time.

His contract is two years, $24 million, plus a vesting option in 2023. It seems small potatoes for a frontline starter of Carrasco’s quality, but the Indians were desperate to slash payroll.

Their 40-man liability is now in the region of $38 million for 2021. It’s possible that former Indians’ pitcher-cum-pantomime villain, Trevor Bauer, could earn more this year than the whole of the Cleveland roster combined.

The return in these deals always looks light for the team giving up the superstar(s), but this trade looks particularly lopsided through my Tribe-tinted spectacles.

ESPN also thought it was a steal for New York, with all three experts grading it A for the Mets. Their opinion for the Indians ranged from B to F.

Gimenez, Mets’ 2020 Rookie of the Year, is a sensational defensive shortstop. He’s speedy on the basepaths, and at only 21 years old, he might develop some power … but don’t bet on it. The Athletic’s Keith Law describes him as:

José Iglesias type of player who balances below-average offense with above-average defense.”

I’ve always liked Rosario. I hoped he would turn into the tall, swaggering, all-round superstar that Tatis Jr. has become, but as yet, he has struggled to make an impact. His .268/.302/.403 slash line for 1,500ish big league plate appearances suggests replacement level, but he is still only 25 years old, and maybe the move away from the Big Apple is what his career needs.

The two prospects moving away from New York don’t even feature in the Indians’ Top-10, which either tells you the Cleveland farm system is stacked with talent, or the two guys are yet to enthral prospect evaluators.

Wolf is a 20-year-old right-handed pitcher who was a second-rounder in 2019. We all know that high school pitchers are a volatile commodity, but Mets’ scouts definitely saw something promising.

Taken with the 69th pick in the 2020 draft, Greene is an athletic outfielder. He is described as having an advanced hit tool and could be Cleveland’s answer in centre field. And boy, do they need help in their outfield.

In my last article, I opined that if Steve Cohen was serious about winning the World Series in three to five years, then he should start by signing DJ LeMahieu. I think this deal dismisses any scepticism of his seriousness.

The Mets are back in business and they will be fun to watch in 2021.

(Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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