The Cleveland Indians plan to trade superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor before Opening Day, SNY's Andy Martino reported Thursday.
News of the Indians' intent to deal Lindor was first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, with Nightengale noting that "several rival teams have been informed" of that intent.
That the Indians plan to trade Lindor, who is one year away from free agency, should not shock anyone. Cleveland, in a sign that it was in the midst of a money crunch, waived star reliever Brad Hand on Oct. 29 in order to clear $10 million from their payroll.
Now, with Lindor one year away from free agency and almost certain to not re-sign in Cleveland, the Indians need to get something of value for him. Enter the Mets?
As we wrote earlier this week, it would've been a surprise had the Indians not made Lindor available. And the Mets -- under new owner Steve Cohen -- could be in a uniquely advantageous position to trade for and extend Lindor.
When it comes to what it could take for the Mets or another team to land Lindor, looking at the trade that sent Mookie Betts (who was one year from free agency) from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 2020 season could be instructive.
In order to acquire Betts, the Dodgers sent OF Alex Verdugo, INF Jeter Downs, and INF Connor Wong to the Red Sox.
Per MLB.com, Verdugo was the Dodgers' top prospect before the 2019 season before making his big league debut, Downs was their No. 5-ranked prospect at the end of the 2019 season, and Wong was their No. 28-ranked prospect.
While it's unclear what the Indians might be looking for in exchange for Lindor (younger prospects, close to MLB-ready prospects, young MLB talent that is established), it can be argued that the Mets have enough valuable players from all of those buckets to satisfy a trade demand.