CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor moves to a new city with a team ready to meet his salary requirements.
The quadruple All-Star shortstop – and one of the best players in baseball – was swapped on Thursday by the Cleveland Indians, with pitcher Carlos Carrasco, for the New York Mets, which has a new owner ready to invest on the highest level of baseball.
They weren’t cheap, said Mets President Sandy Alderson. It’s about creating a new reality, not a perception.
The Indians sent Lindor and Carrasco to the Mets for infielder Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario, right-handed Josh Wolfe and outfielder Isaiah Green. Cleveland hopes to remain competitive and put an end to the longest drought in the world baseball series.
The signing of Lindor, which qualifies for the free agency after the 2021 season, was inevitable for the Indians of half the market, who cannot compete financially with the major publishers of MLB. The deal with two big players and fan favorites cost about $30 million.
These are people we care about, not just the players, and guys who loved this organization and have a good memory here, said Chris Antonetti, President of Indian Baseball Operations, who said he had tears in his eyes when he spoke with Lindor and Carrasco. These similarities are very difficult. But it’s the right thing to do.
For the Mets the landing of Lindor is a home run and another big step from hedgefund owner Stephen Cohen, who bought the team on the 6th. November bought from the Wilpon and Katz families and promised an increase in spending.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Francisco Lindor is one of the best baseball players who can win with his bat, glove and feet. He had 285 shots in his career and took the average of 29 homers, 86 RBI’s and 21 steals in his six premier league-seasons. Harrison Barden/MLB photos through Getty Images
One of the next big projects is signing a long-term contract with Lindor, which the Indians were not able to do. Alderson said he hasn’t spoken to Lindor’s agents yet.
We acquired Francisco on the basis of his current skills and his ability to be a Met in the long term. There are no guarantees. This is an issue we will address in the coming weeks, Mr. Alderson said. At this stage, we felt comfortable passing on the group of players we had passed on to Lindor and Carrasco. … We’ve given up a lot of control for the short term, but I think we like that and what we can do in the future.
Lindor, 27, can influence the game with his bat, glove and feet. The two-time Gold Glove winner has been a .285 hitter in his career, averaging 29 homers, 86 RBI’s and 21 steals in six major championship seasons, all with the Indians who drafted and developed him in 2011.
He was also the face of the Indian franchise, with an infectious smile and a joy for the game that made him one of the most popular athletes of Cleveland. But now he’s gone and leaves the Indians without their best player, and the fans of the team are extremely enthusiastic about owner Paul Dolan.
Carrasco is one of the best stories of the return to the game, after overcoming leukemia to become one of the toughest debutants in LA. This 33-year-old has a career of 88-73 with an ERA of 3.73.
With a plethora of young pitchers, including Cy Young award winner Shane Bieber, the Indians were able to move a player of Carrasco’s calibre.
It can be replaced. It will be much harder to find someone who can follow in Lindor’s footsteps.
After the pandemically shortened 2020 season ended with a loss for the New York Yankees in the wild-card tournament, the question became when, not if, Lindor could be marketed.
The Indians have made it clear that Lindor is available at the right price. And while it is never easy to trade generations of talent for the best years ahead, Cleveland’s financial situation would never allow it to hold its own.
This agreement has been in the making for some time now, Alderson said Thursday. We spoke before the break and just before the start of the low season. Things have been better here the last few days.
Lindor received a pro-rata salary of $6,481,481 out of a total of $17.5 million last year.
Carrasco signs up for $12 million in each of the next two seasons, as part of an agreement that includes a $14 million team option for 2023 with a $3 million buyout. The option is guaranteed if he has completed 170 heats in 2022 and is deemed suitable for the 2023 season.
New York City’s payroll is approaching the start of a $210 million luxury tax.
This is an important demarcation, Mr. Alderson said. I wouldn’t say it’s a line you can’t cross.
Cohen hopes to turn around a franchise that hasn’t won a World Series since 1986. He fired general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, brought back Alderson as team chairman and hired Jared Porter from Arizona as general manager under Alderson.
Since the acquisition of Cohen, New York has hired launcher Marcus Stroman for $18.9 million, right-handed Trevor May signed for a two-year contract and $15.5 million, and recipient James McCann signed for a four-year contract and $40.6 million. New York also signed a one-year, $9.7 million deal with injured righthander Noah Syndergaard.
Alderson wasn’t sure we could take any more steps.
I think the market will dictate some of our decisions in the coming weeks, Alderson said. We feel that we’ve had a big impact on the team, but we’re not perfect, so we’ll always have an active conversation in the market.
But I think it will get us somewhere… I think you should look at it as a whole. We gave up two candidates we really liked, but they weren’t in our top six or seven. We never said we wouldn’t trade potential players out of our system, but I think we said we wouldn’t move a handful of our players, and I think this agreement respects that.
Rosario is entitled to arbitration for the first time after receiving a pro-rata salary of $225,474, or $608,780.
The Associated Press has contributed to this report.
carlos carrasco,francisco lindor