In a move all Cleveland baseball fans knew was coming, but still dreaded, the Cleveland Baseball Team’s front office shipped their superstar shortstop to the New York Mets in a six-player deal. Lindor was due to enter free agency at the conclusion of the 2021 season. He was expected to command a huge payday that Cleveland’s ownership clearly had no appetite to match. So, from that perspective, unloading Frankie made financial sense. The player swap also includes starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, which was somewhat less expected. Carrasco has two years remaining on the extension he signed in 2018 with a club option for 2023. Simply put, Carrasco’s inclusion in the trade was an obvious salary dump.
In return, Cleveland welcomes infielder Andres Gimenez, shortstop Amed Rosario, outfielder Isaiah Greene, and right-handed pitcher Josh Wolf. Gimenez was the Mets number one minor league prospect in 2018 and began 2019 as New York’s third-best prospect according to MLB.com. He made his major league debut with the Mets during the pandemic-shortened season in 2020. Amed Rosario is also a former number one prospect, featuring at the top of the list in 2016 and debuted for the big league club in 2017. Wolf and Greene were listed ninth and tenth, respectively, on MLB.com’s Prospect Rankings in 2020.
Given that two of their most beloved and longest-tenured, stars – one of whom has plenty of life left on his contract – a four-player haul may look a little underwhelming. Some fans may even feel Cleveland has had their pocket picked by Jared Porter, the new Mets GM, who has been in the role less than a month. But once you take emotion out of the equation, the trade might be another example of astute and clever business by Cleveland’s front office.
The Indians receive a ready replacement for Lindor at the shortstop position in the form of Andres Gimenez. A highly-touted 22-year-old from Venezuela, Gimenez produced a solid showing in 49 games last season. Finishing seventh in ROY voting, he batted .263 with a .333 OBP to go with 3 HR 12 RBI and 8 steals. A versatile defender, Gimenez could also fill the slot at second base vacated by infielder Cesar Hernandez.
Amed Rosario has had an underwhelming major league career since arriving at the big league level in 2017. He has limited power, a lousy OPS and strikes out a lot for a guy who struggles to hit 10 home runs in a season. It will be interesting to see how his situation plays out given that he does not have the defensive versatility of Gimenez and, unlike Gimenez, is out of minor league options.
As for the prospects, Josh Wolf’s feet have barely touched the ground in the minor leagues. The 18-year-old has just five starts to his name in rookie ball due to the 2020 minor league season being a total write-off in response to the pandemic. Isaiah Greene was second-round compensation pick of the Mets in the 2020 draft and is yet to make his professional debut. Cleveland is taking a big risk with these two talents who have a ton of potential but are unknown quantities, completely untested as professionals. But, if history has taught us anything, it is to trust the wisdom of the Cleveland front office.