According to Bob Nightengale, the Cleveland Indians want to trade star shortstop Francisco Lindor before the 2021 Opening Day. And while the New York Yankees shouldn’t be viewed as the favorites to land him given that they don’t seem particularly eager to expand the payroll, they could pounce if they want to.
Any potential trade should be viewed as a kind of a salary dump by Cleveland. Lindor is expensive (he is projected to earn around $21 million next season in what will be his last year of team control) and since he will hit free agency when the 2021 campaign ends, his trade value isn’t sky-high as some may think.
This is not to say that Cleveland won’t get useful prospects in return, but the package probably won’t be extremely enticing, like what the Chicago White Sox got from the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale, for example. The odds are that Lindor won’t fetch such a haul. If that’s the case, then the New York Yankees should at least entertain the possibility of trading for the Puerto Rican star.
But the primary issue would be that, for the Yankees to make room for Lindor, they would have to let DJ LeMahieu go. And, well, that is difficult to swallow given that he just led the Major Leagues in batting average (.364) and the Bombers in fWAR (2.5.)
For the Yankees, it’s probably Lindor or LeMahieu
DJ has been the Yankees’ MVP the last two seasons, but if Lindor comes, he wouldn’t have a place, as he is currently without a contract and the Bombers have Gio Urshela at third, Gleyber Torres at second (he would slide over from shortstop to accommodate Lindor) and Voit at first. The designated hitter spot would be occupied by Giancarlo Stanton most nights.
Here is a tweet by Andy Martino, from SNY: “Knowing what we already know about Yankees offseason, we can extrapolate that they would need to get really creative to add Lindor $. Would include losing LeMahieu and trading good young players,” he said.
So, for the Yankees, would it be worth the trouble moving around that many pieces just to make room for a shortstop that will be a free agent after just one year? He is good (138 career homers, .285/.346/.488 line with a .351 wOBA, a 118 wRC+ and 28.9 fWAR) and young (almost 27) but he would be extremely difficult to accommodate.