The New York Mets pulled off the major move expected since billionaire Steven Cohen purchased the club last November, acquiring All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco from Cleveland for shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, minor leaguers Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene.
The move for Cleveland has been long expected as part of their systematic teardown with the trades of pitchers Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Mike Clevinger over the last two seasons. The deal moves out Lindor’s $21 million salary for 2021 before he becomes a free agent and $38 million owed to Carrasco over the next three years, but also may thaw out the freeze in the free agent and trade market.
Lindor was rumored to be a target of the Toronto Blue Jays with former Cleveland execs Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins in charge and a potential Plan B option for the Los Angeles Dodgers (with third baseman Justin Turner unsigned) and the New York Yankees (with AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu on the market).
With Lindor off the market, the Blue Jays now may turn their attention towards All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado (being shopped by Colorado with $199 million remaining on his contract), LeMahieu (who reportedly is holding out for a five-year deal with the Yankees), outfielder George Springer, catcher JT Realmuto, 2020 Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, or shortstop Trevor Story.
There are fears that Toronto is being used by free agents to raise the asking price of teams that they really want to go to. Springer is rumored to be interested in going to the Mets, while Bauer (a California native) reportedly wants to return home to play for the Angels.
Story is expected to be part of the 2021 free-agent shortstop class along with Lindor, LA’s Corey Seager, Chicago’s Javier Baez, and Houston’s Carlos Correa, and the Rockies may be forced to move the 28-year-old if they cannot clear the final six years of Arenado contract.
The trade market has picked up over the last few weeks with the Padres acquiring former Cy Young winner Blake Snell from Tampa Bay and starter Yu Darvish from Chicago and Washington swapping for first baseman Josh Bell, but to date the only long-term free-agent contract signed since the Dodgers World Series victory has been catcher James McCann’s four-year, $40 million deal with the Mets.