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Thursday, November 05, 2020

Indians intend to trade star shortstop Francisco Lindor by opening day

The Cleveland Indians, severely strapped for money, are informing teams that they intend to trade All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor by opening day, according to two rival executives.

The executives spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of trade talks.

Cleveland shopped Lindor last winter, and were in serious negotiations with the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that involved shortstop Corey Seager, but decided to hang onto him when the Dodgers declined to increase their offer.

Now, Cleveland may have no choice with Lindor expected to earn about $20 million in salary arbitration for the 2021 season, and will be eligible for free agency after the season.

The New York Mets would likely be a strong suitor for Lindor with billionaire Steve Cohen becoming the Mets’ new owner.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 05, 2020 at 02:34 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: francisco lindor

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   1. The Duke Posted: November 05, 2020 at 03:52 PM (#5987407)
He’ll be a non-tender. No one will trade for him, pay him and then lose him
   2. DCA Posted: November 05, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5987411)
Why not? Lindor has excess value over his 2021 salary.

Plus, as the Betts deal shows, the acquiring team has a one year head start on signing him to a long term deal, and that also has value. And then there’s draft compensation if he walks as a FA.
   3. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2020 at 04:19 PM (#5987414)
He’ll be a non-tender. No one will trade for him, pay him and then lose him


I think he's clearly worth a qualifying offer in 2021.
   4. JRVJ Posted: November 05, 2020 at 04:28 PM (#5987415)
Non-tender?

That's madness. There's a very solid chance that the cost of a QO after the 2021 season will be less than what Lindor is getting paid in 2020... and even the stingiest team is willing to sign a 5-win player to a one-year deal (I'm going to assume here that Lindor will be worth within 4 to 6 wins in 2021, which does not seem unlikely, if he is healthy).
   5. Zach Posted: November 05, 2020 at 05:12 PM (#5987421)
Lindor has excess value over his 2021 salary.

I dunno. The economic value of a ballplayer is going to be very, very low in 2021 and everybody's going to be short on cash.
   6. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: November 05, 2020 at 05:41 PM (#5987427)
The Angels will take him. They have an ongoing quest to assemble as many great position players as possible while making sure their pitching staff is bad enough to keep the team mediocre. Lindor would be a nice addition to that collection.

In seriousness, I'd love it if the Angels traded for Lindor. Pujols is off the books after next year and Upton the year after. Trade Jo Adell plus any prospects not named Brandon Marsh or Reid Detmers. Lindor will be a $10 million raise from Simmons, so they'll have to eat that. Then they need to find a catcher.

And we'll just assume the law of averages will eventually force the pitching staff to be better. They can't be this bad forever, right?
   7. The Duke Posted: November 05, 2020 at 05:56 PM (#5987429)
The Indians have a recent history of non-tendering a valuable player and the league knows that. If you get him for 20 and can’t sign him what have you achieved? Is he the guy who makes you a WS champion in the year you acquire him? He’s not Mookie Betts. He gets a lot of his value from defense.

If you want him for the QO potential I guess that’s a possibility. What’s the highest value pick you can get for a Lindor and what is it worth ? $5 million, 7.5 million? If he returns to form. What if 2020 is his new level. Is he worth a QO?

Do you want him to QO him to freeze him onto your team for two years ? Seems a risky bet

If you want him to sign him to a long term deal, does Lindor want to sign a long term deal off of an off-year?

Name me a team that, upon trading for Lindor, becomes odds on favorite for a deep run into post-season because of his presence. If that team exists, maybe a trade gets done.

There are a handful of teams willing to spend, at best. Is one year of Lindor a good choice for splurging? Realmuto has a strong case for that. Bauer has a case for that

   8. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 05, 2020 at 06:43 PM (#5987448)
The Tigers sure could use Lindor. TINSTAPP and they have a veritable buffet of them that might appeal to Cleveland. Plus the pandemic only helps demand for Little Caesars pizza.
   9. JJ1986 Posted: November 05, 2020 at 07:22 PM (#5987457)
Do you want him to QO him to freeze him onto your team for two years ? Seems a risky bet
I thought your first post was a joke. Two years is so far from nothing that this is insane. He'd help at least 25 teams, most of whom will be trying to compete now or soon. All of the NL East, although the Braves probably aren't interested. All of the NL Central except the Pirates (Cubs probably also aren't interested, although Baez is a more likely NT than Lindor). Not the Padres, probably not the Rockies, maybe not the Giants. He could help the Yankees or the Twins or the A's or the Angels. He'd help the Mariners if they want to compete.
   10. DCA Posted: November 05, 2020 at 07:33 PM (#5987460)
If Cubs aren’t interested it will be because of money. Otherwise, Baez back to 2B makes it easy to fit Lindor in the lineup.
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: November 05, 2020 at 08:08 PM (#5987470)
Cohen was responding to Mets fans on Twitter today, and naively claimed that would continue even if things don't go as well.

yeah, that's not gonna last - and not just as his fault. just too many nutjobs out there.

but sure, we'd listen if Lindor called. Mets have Rosario, Gimenez, and a top SS prospect as well. Dom Smith and Alonso are a tough pair without the DH. we could talk.
   12. Padraic Posted: November 05, 2020 at 08:27 PM (#5987473)
He’s not Mookie Betts. He gets a lot of his value from defense.


Not sure about that.

A) It's not really that big of a difference - Career oWAR and dWar per B-Ref


Lindor 23.5 9.4

Betts 32.5 11.1

B) Value is value
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 05, 2020 at 10:44 PM (#5987490)
Is he the guy who makes you a WS champion in the year you acquire him? He’s not Mookie Betts. He gets a lot of his value from defense.

In addition to [12], he's a star SS. Every single one of them, except Jeter got a lot of value from defense.

What if 2020 is his new level.

OK, this is just silly. He's 26 and had 60 games slightly below his career averages. He's probably had a 60 G stretch of a 102 OPS+ or worse every year of his career.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: November 05, 2020 at 11:24 PM (#5987499)
Something funny about Lindor's 2020 WAR calculation. His 12 RAR somehow translate to just 0.8 WAR. That should be more like 1.2 WAR. Alternatively his 9 Rrep are translating to just 0.5 WAR which makes no sense at all given the way Rrep is calculated. If you pro-rate his season out to 650 PA, it's 9 runs above average but just 2 WAR in a full season of play.

Happened to the team as well with 50 RAR but just 2.1 WAR. The WS are somewhat similar at 133 for 10.4. Twins 94/6.7. Cubs 67/4.3; Padres 135/10.9. MLB as a whole was 2250/146. MLB pitchers as a whole were a more normal (but still unusual I believe) 1717/152.

Time to fire something off to the b-r bug team.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: November 05, 2020 at 11:53 PM (#5987501)
I've sent the bug report. More issues noticed -- pitchers credited with more WAR than pos players this year. Total WAA of 0 of course but average total WAR per team of just 10 which would translate to 28 wins, not 30. If replacement level is now 20 wins out of 60 that's the equivalent of 54/162 which is way higher than replacement value has ever been. There seems to be 2 missing WARpos (but not RAR) per team this year.

I won't say it's wrong, maybe there's some wacky adjustment around .... who knows what .... to adjust for 60 games or 28 man rosters or the league factors totally messed up. The only ended up being 2 games missed across the entire schedule so it's not that.
   16. Rally Posted: November 06, 2020 at 08:08 AM (#5987511)
His 12 RAR somehow translate to just 0.8 WAR. That should be more like 1.2 WAR.


Things like that can happen in extreme run environments, but that is too much to be correct. Hack Wilson in 1930 was 84/7.4. Indians were playing in a low run environment for 2020, 4.13 runs vs 3.48 RA. So it might even be 1.3 WAR if the bug is fixed.
   17. DL from MN Posted: November 06, 2020 at 09:35 AM (#5987520)
everybody's going to be short on cash.


Everybody's a billionaire. Some of them even own banks.
   18. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 06, 2020 at 10:47 AM (#5987536)
Why not? Lindor has excess value over his 2021 salary.
As a Cleveland fan, I think there are a number of answers to this question. First and foremost, are they trying to win the World Series once or are they trying to win 85-87 games all the time? I'd prefer the former, I think they're shooting for the latter.

Second, without Lindor on the payroll, 2021 salary commitments are below $40 million for the entire roster. One player has a base salary above $9,000,000. It's not like they need to save money. If they do, they should probably get out of the business of running an MLB team.

Third, there's a feeling among the fans in Cleveland that this ownership group views owning the team as some kind of burden or inconvenience, and that it isn't committed to winning championships. It will not help to salary-dump the franchise player on a team that has made the playoffs in four out of five seasons and came within the width of a mosquito's ballsack of winning the whole damn thing.

You can't keep dumping talent and expect interest to increase and attendance to improve. It doesn't work that way.

All that said, if trading Lindor makes them more likely to win a World Series than extending him would, fine, trade him. But good lord, man, it's been 72 years. My mom (a Cleveland native) raised four children, has nine grandchildren, lived a full life, and based on some chronic health issues may or may not be around this time next year. The last time Cleveland won a World Series, she was in kindergarten. Win something, dammit.
   19. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: November 06, 2020 at 10:55 AM (#5987539)
As a Cleveland fan, this feels inevitable, but it still stinks. Other than maybe Sizemore, he's probably their best position player since Manny and Albert Belle.

I can't tell what contenders need a shortstop though. The Brewers probably have the worst SS (Orlando Arcia) of any competitive team. The Twins have Polanco, who didn't hit last year but was okay in 2018 and 2019, Gleyber Torres is similar. Every other team that I think of as a WS contender has a solid SS in place.

   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 06, 2020 at 12:16 PM (#5987549)
I can't tell what contenders need a shortstop though. The Brewers probably have the worst SS (Orlando Arcia) of any competitive team. The Twins have Polanco, who didn't hit last year but was okay in 2018 and 2019, Gleyber Torres is similar. Every other team that I think of as a WS contender has a solid SS in place.

I think the Yankees would be happy to move Torres to 2B.
   21. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: November 06, 2020 at 12:33 PM (#5987551)
If the Indians non-tender Francisco Lindor their fans would be eminently justified in literally burning the stadium to the ground.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: November 06, 2020 at 11:17 PM (#5987643)
Cleveland clearly is hoping for a Mookie-ish deal. Mookie was a 7-WAR player going into 2020 and the Dodgers paid Mookie $29, ate half of Price's contract, gave the Red Sox a very good young player in Verdugo and a decent prospect. Lindor is only a 5-WAR player but he'll also only cost about $20, the Indiand don't have a Price-like contract to dump I don't think so they might still be able to get a Verdugo or a higher-level prospect for him. The Dodgers arguably overpaid for Mookie -- they couldn't be certain they'd be able to extend him but they must have been pretty confident. So possibly the team acquiring Lindor will only pay a top price if they're similarly confident.

Any contender would want to add Lindor for 1/$20 and probably all would want to extend him. It's a matter of cost (paid to Cleveland first then Lindor) not current SS occupant. Somebody can always be moved, at least for one year -- and that might even be Lindor if he likes your long-term offer.

That said, "contender" and "high payroll with money to spend" is a pretty rare combo at the moment. For long-term, Yanks (Gleyber to 2B) make the most sense. The Dodgers -- Turner's contract is done so Seager to 3B. They reportedly turned down Lux for Lindor last offseason but they might be more amenable to that now, or possibly one of their young pitchers. With Altuve and Bregman already signed and Correa (in his last arb year) at SS, the Astros are one contender that probably legitmately aren't interested. Other teams with money generally aren't contenders; other contenders probably don't see Lindor as a viable long-term option for them. I suppose I shouldn't dump the Nats out of the contender bucket entirely so they make some sense.

#16: Not only that but it appears to be league-wide. On the conversion factor, in my poking around, it's nearly always between .9 to 1.1 WAR per 10 RAR. (EDIT: That might be the WAA per 10 RAA rate actually but roughly the same thing.)
   23. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: November 07, 2020 at 01:59 PM (#5987680)
Given Cleveland's recent trade history, I am guessing you could get Lindor for a fourth outfielder and middling relief prospect.
   24. bookbook Posted: November 08, 2020 at 07:49 PM (#5987864)
Seattle doesn’t have a hole at SS, but the upgrade to Lindor would help quite a bit, Jerry doesn’t like trading, though.
   25. puck Posted: November 08, 2020 at 08:52 PM (#5987869)
Isn't the Lindor market complicated by all the shortstops due for FA after 2021? It seems like a crazy good crop.
   26. Rally Posted: November 09, 2020 at 10:35 AM (#5987920)
Was Price's inclusion part of the cost of getting Mookie or another asset that increased the prospect return to the Red Sox?

Had he not opted out, Dodgers would have been getting Price for 3 years and 48 million. He was definitely not worth paying 32 million per year, but probably worth a bit more than what the Dodgers would have paid him (again, going only on what was known at the time of the trade in regards to season length, opt outs, and baseball revenue)

Price was excellent in 2018. In 2019 he made only 22 starts due to injury. His ERA wasn't great at 4.28 but that's still a 113 ERA+. Plus his peripherals were very good (3.62 FIP, 10.7 K/9, 4-1 K-W).

My take is that Price at 16m had projectable value to the Dodgers. Had the deal been discussed without him, Verdugo (the main return) still gets traded, but the Red Sox only get one of the 2 prospects in the deal (Connor Wong or Jeter Downs) instead of both.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 09, 2020 at 10:48 AM (#5987922)
My take is that Price at 16m had projectable value to the Dodgers. Had the deal been discussed without him, Verdugo (the main return) still gets traded, but the Red Sox only get one of the 2 prospects in the deal (Connor Wong or Jeter Downs) instead of both.
I'd go the other way and say he was part of the cost - the age 34-36 seasons of a pitcher whose ERA+ had already declined from 135 to 123 to 113 over the past 3 seasons (and who had missed significant time to injury in two out of those three years) are probably not going to be worth $48M.
   28. Rally Posted: November 09, 2020 at 02:05 PM (#5987967)
In those same years Bumgarner went from 128-116-108 while also missing a lot of time in 2 of the 3 seasons. He got 5 years and 85 million. He does have his advantages - healthy in the most recent season, and 4 years younger. Dallas Keuchel was 2 years younger and got 3/55. ERA+ of 141-111-123. Also less of a health risk. The 2019-20 offseason was a great time to cash in for a free agent pitcher.

Thinking more about it, based on the comps I revise my opinion. Price was appropriately paid at 3/48. So the Dodgers were probably indifferent to taking him or not as long as the Red Sox paid half the money. They probably have to give up a similar player package for Betts alone. Red Sox of course were in cost cutting mode, hence the decision to include Price.
   29. The Duke Posted: November 10, 2020 at 08:27 AM (#5988038)
I’m changing my opinion on Lindor. The vaccine success just announced changes everything. Baseball will certainly be back to normal in 2022 and may very well be in part/all of 2021. So I think free agency may be a bit more robust and Lindor may bring back a 2019 trade package
   30. Darren Posted: November 10, 2020 at 04:08 PM (#5988147)
This is the worst thing that has ever happened to baseball. How can a team that is good enough to contend trade away a star player!!!???!!! This should never ever ever ever happen, even if the player only has 1 year of team control left. Argle Bargle!
   31. Darren Posted: November 10, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5988148)
My take is that Price at 16m had projectable value to the Dodgers. Had the deal been discussed without him, Verdugo (the main return) still gets traded, but the Red Sox only get one of the 2 prospects in the deal (Connor Wong or Jeter Downs) instead of both.


You know a lot more about player values than I do, but I have a hard time believing this. Price pitched 2 innings in the last 2 months of 2019. His health, while generally in question overall, was specifically in question at the end of the season. The general consensus among those that covered baseball was that the Red Sox were unloading that amount of contract.

Also, lumping Wong and Downs together seems odd. Downs is a top 50 prospect, Wong is more like a lottery ticket.

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