The New York Mets have kicked off the Steve Cohen era with a bang, pulling off a trade for shortstop Francisco Lindor and starter Carlos Carrasco in a trade with the Cleveland Indians that vaults them into serious World Series contention.
— New York Mets (@Mets) January 7, 2021
Cleveland will receive infielders Andrés Giménez and Amed Rosario along with prospects Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene in exchange for Lindor and Carrasco. Aside from the four-year deal catcher James McCann signed with New York earlier this offseason, the trade marks the first blockbuster move the Mets have made since billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen purchased the team with the promise of winning a championship within the next five years.
Lindor, 27, is one of MLB’s most talented shortstops and among the brightest young stars in the sport. He’s a .285 career hitter with an .833 OPS over six seasons with the Indians. The winner of two Gold Gloves and as many Silver Sluggers, Lindor has been surrounded by trade rumors for years as he inched closer to free agency in 2021. The Indians play in one of the smallest markets in baseball and it had become increasingly apparent that they wouldn’t pay him what he would aim to make as a free agent.
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, there is an “excellent chance” that Lindor signs an extension with the Mets before he becomes a free agent, similar to what Mookie Betts did with the Los Angeles Dodgers after they acquired him from the Boston Red Sox last offseason. Betts also had one year remaining on his deal before he signed a 12-year, $365 million deal.
Carrasco, 33, is a former Cy Young contender who returned to form in 2020 after stepping away from baseball the year prior as he battle with leukemia. He has a career 3.77 ERA with three 200-strikeout seasons to his name. The right-hander is owed $24 million over the next two seasons with a $14 million team option ($3 million buyout) for 2023.
The move gives the Mets a much deeper lineup than they had when the day began. Lindor should slide in alongside 2019 home run leader Pete Alonso, former All-Stars Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil, as well as Dominic Smith, who received down-ballot NL MVP votes last season. In the rotation, Carrasco joins two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, former All-Star Marcus Stroman and up-and-coming lefty David Peterson with Noah Syndergaard set to return from Tommy John surgery midseason.