New York Mets: The First Big Move Under Steve Cohen’s Ownership

The New York Mets finally made first their big move under Steve Cohen by acquiring Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. Fans can finally quit complaining about the lack of moves made at the moment. Now that we know who the Mets traded for, what should they expect in return?

Lindor is in the class of the premier shortstops in all of baseball. In the last four full seasons, Lindor was an All-Star in all four seasons, a two-time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner, and a Platinum Glove owner. Lindor is only 27 years old and will very likely re-sign with the Mets the same way Mookie Betts did with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fans will love him, and he is the new face of the franchise.

Carrasco is a bonafide number two starting pitcher. He has a 3.77 career ERA, battled through blood cancer to return in 2019, and is signed through the next three seasons. As the Mets wait for another starting pitching sign and Noah Syndergaard’s return, they have a rotation that will compete for a division crown.

Shortstops to Cleveland

Of course, Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez are heading to Cleveland. Both players have a high ceiling, but neither of them are at Lindor’s level. Both will thrive in a smaller market where the expectations are lower. Much like Travis d’Arnaud, Rosario needs a clean slate after never living up to his #1 prospect ranking.

Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene are two former second-round pick for the Mets. Neither are in the upper class of Mets prospects but were worth taking a risk on. In 2019, Wolf had a 3.38 ERA in Rookie ball, while Greene has yet to play professionally.

The question becomes, “what is next?” George Springer is always on the radar, but anything can and will surprise us like the Lindor trade.

New York Yankees lose out on the Francisco Lindor sweepstakes in blockbuster fashion

New York Yankees, Mets, Francisco Lindor

If you are a New York Yankees fan, you are usually used to general manager Brian Cashman solidifying blockbuster deals. Being on the other side of the fence is a rarity, especially when compared to the New York Mets, a franchise that has seldom made big deals during the off-season.

However, new owner Steve Cohen wasn’t joking when he said he was going to invest back into the team. The New York Mets are closing in on star shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. This would give them one of the best defensive players in baseball and an above-average starter who can slide in behind Jacob deGrom.

According to Jeff Passan:

So far what we know of the New York-Cleveland blockbuster: Mets get SS Francisco Lindor and RHP Carlos Carrasco.

Cleveland gets: SS Andres Gimenez, RHP Josh Wolf, OF Isaiah Greene

The New York Yankees had their chance, but it’s long gone now:

The Yankees have been linked to Lindor multiple times over the past few seasons, and that rumor mill didn’t stop once the 2020 campaign concluded. The Yankees still aren’t sure about Gleyber Torres at SS, and if they lost DJ LeMahieu this off-season, Lindor was a consideration for them.

However, Cashman elected to take a different approach, avoiding long-term deals like the one Lindor is bound to receive from the Mets. It is a little worrisome that the team only a 7 train away is making such a big splash with new ownership, as they are confident in their quest to compete with the Yankees and their salary cap expenditures.

In 2019, Lindor hit .284 with 32 homers and 74 RBIs. For his slugging ability, he has an astronomically low strikeout rate at about 14%.

Ultimately, he would’ve been welcomed with open arms if the Yankees acquired him, but they are focused on DJ LeMahieu and his contract extension. Other teams have reached out to DJs representatives, including the Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, and Los Angeles Dodgers. Considering this blockbuster deal by the Mets, the Yankees simply can’t let LeMahieu walk, otherwise, they might have a riot on their hands.

BREAKING: The New York Mets acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco via trade!

New York Yankees, Mets, Francisco Lindor

The New York Mets are about to make the move of the offseason, as they are in very advanced conversations with the Cleveland Indians to acquire star shortstop Francisco Lindor, according to ESPN Jeff Passan. The deal is being finalized.

“The New York Mets are deep into talks on a deal to acquire Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians, sources tell ESPN,” Passan tweeted on Thursday.

However, that is not all! According to Mark Feinsand, the Mets will also be getting Carlos Carrasco from the Indians in the Lindor deal.

According to Tim Healey fo Newsday, the Mets will get Lindor and Carrasco, while the Indians are acquiring Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario, Josh Wolf, and Isaiah Greene.

Mets’ president Sandy Alderson had previously stated, over the winter, that the team would prioritize free agent acquisitions before the trade market. However, he also left the door open to acquiring talent already on other teams’ rosters.

The Mets are getting two stars!

Lindor, 27, makes sense for the Mets if they are able to sign him to an extension, as 2021 will be the last season of team control for him. He will hit the market after the 2021 World Series ends.

Lindor, one of the best shortstops in MLB, played all 60 games with Cleveland last season. In 266 plate appearances, he hit 8 home runs and hit .258/.335/.415 with a 100 wRC+. It was a subpar campaign by his lofty standards, but his defense and baserunning pushed his fWAR up to 1.7.

In his career, Lindor has slashed .285/.346/.488 with a 118 wRC+ and has 28.9 career fWAR.

Carrasco, meanwhile, will greatly improve the Mets’ rotation. In 12 starts and 68 innings, he had a 2.91 ERA and a 3.59 FIP, with a 10.85 K/9 and a 3.57 BB/9.

Carrasco would give the Mets a formidable rotation and would join Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, Noah Syndergaard, and David Peterson as options for manager Luis Rojas for the 2021 season.

Yankees: One blockbuster trade that needs to happen if DJ LeMahieu leaves

New York Yankees, Francisco Lindor

The New York Yankees have a long road ahead of them this off-season, especially with the contract negotiations involving DJ LeMahieu. Of course, this news will continue to regurgitate until a decision is finally made. The Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman remain confident that they will strike a deal in the coming weeks, but other teams have since entered the fold. The Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers have all inquired about his services.

The Yankee should ultimately be preparing for LeMahieu to leave in free agency, and there’s only one solution that could bring back ample value. They must strike a blockbuster trade with one of the best infielders in the MLB, and his name is Francisco Lindor.

Lindor has one more year on his contract with the Cleveland Indians, and they are trying to sell while his value is still high. At 27, he is in the prime of his playing years, and he’s a dominant shortstop with incredible power. He would fit into the Yankees infield like a glove.

Francisco wouldn’t come cheap, though, as the Yankees would have to offer valuable prospects for his services. After seeing with the Chicago Cubs got in return for Yu Darvish, it is possible that Lindor’s price might not be as elevated as some predict. Considering Lindor will be a free agent next year and have the decision to sign with whomever he wants, the Yankees could easily tell Cleveland they will do just that instead of trading for him.

This is really the only suitable replacement for LeMahieu, as it would allow Gleyber Torres to move back to second base and inject arguably the best shortstop into the position. Torres struggled in 2020 during the abbreviated campaign, returning to the second spring training overweight and out of shape. Cashman even admitted that Torres is a better second baseman, and this is the perfect opportunity for the Yankees to acquire a true star at shortstop and extend him long-term.

What type of production would Lindor bring to the Yankees?

This past season, Lindor had a contextually down year, hitting .258 with eight homers and 27 RBIs. In 2019, he had .284 with 32 homers and 74 RBIs. He has a 14.1% strikeout rate over the course of his career, indicating fantastic contact abilities as well. With the Yankees’ ability to develop sluggers and extract home runs from batters, he could even benefit from making the transition to New York.

If the Yankees could acquire him without giving up too much value and capital, they should make this deal without hesitation. The Yankees need to be considering the fact that Aaron Judge’s contract is on the way, and they have to make win-now decisions with youth still on their side.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Torres as good as Lindor? MLB.com says so

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankee’s Gleyber Torres may be as good as Francisco Lindor in 2021, a report from MLB.com says. The report was done on seven underperforming players during the 2020 season and their ability to bounce back from bad numbers. The report does not involve defensive numbers, only hitting. They project Lindor will hit .277 with 33 homers and Torres hitting .270 with 32 homers.

David Adler of MLB.com suggested that it was a weird season for some of the best baseball players and seven players that were most likely to bounce back from poor numbers. I have previously reported that many industry sources have said that you can’t use 2020 numbers as an indicator of how good a player can be. This report further backs up that statement. Included in the report in addition to Torres and Lindor was Christain Yelich, Nolan Arenado, Cody Bellinger, Alex Bregman, and pitcher Jack Flaherty. All of these star players had substantially subpar seasons.

There are many theories out there to why the coronavirus 2020 season affected so many players, but none can be proven. The most common of which is that the split spring training stop and start never allowed many players to get into sync at the start of the season and that the season wasn’t long enough for them to get on track. But for some reason, others excelled in the environment.

As far as the Yankees are concerned, several players regressed from 2019 numbers, including Tyler Wade, Mike Ford, Mike Tauchman, Gleyber Torres, and most notably Gary Sanchez, who could never find his stride and had a horrible season. Yet DJ LeMahieu became baseball’s hitting champ, and Luke Voit hit more home runs than anyone in baseball. Other Yankee players had their season affected by injuries.

The report shows Lindor with 2020 stats: .258 AVG / .335 OBP / .415 SLG, 8 HR, 6 SB, .750 OPS and 2021 projections: .277 AVG / .349 OBP / .507 SLG, 33 HR, 19 SB, .856 OPS. Lindor hit .284 in 2019 with 32 home runs. The big difference for Lindor in 2020 was that he had far fewer pulled balls and, with less power, not leaving the park.

Gleyber Torre’s numbers showed 2020 stats: .243 AVG / .356 OBP / .368 SLG, 3 HR, .724 OPS. 2021 projections: .270 AVG / .350 OBP / .498 SLG, 32 HR, .847 OPS. During 2019 Torres hit .278 with 38 home runs. Pitchers seemed to have adjusted to Torres throwing him to the edges of the strike zone 45% of the time compared to 39.7% of the time during 2019. That and being too selective caused the dramatic drop in his numbers. Torres in 2021 needs to adjust and get the ball on the barrel to get his power numbers back.

Regardless of the reasons, the report shows that offensively Torres can be just as good a player for the New York Yankee as Francisco Lindor can be for the Indians if you are to believe the projections. Torres is still very young at 24 and is still in development. The New York Yankees hope that Torres will improve his defense as he matures, getting to the ball sooner and throwing more accurately. Lindor is three years older than Torres. The Yankees are hopeful for a bounce year for Torres, they will need him more than ever in 2021.

 

 

New York Mets expect to be involved in the Francisco Lindor sweepstakes

New York yankees, Francisco Lindor

While the New York Mets have implied during the offseason that they would prefer to focus on signing free agents instead of the trade market, it doesn’t mean that they will completely turn their back on the latter. Yes, they want to save prospect capital and take advantage of their resources, but if a good deal presents itself, they will surely analyze it.

The Mets have already made quite the splash during the free agency period, having secured James McCann to be the starter at catcher and Trevor May to pitch high-leverage innings in the bullpen. But they want more. They need more, actually.

Center fielder George Springer and starting pitcher Trevor Bauer are, reportedly, New York Mets’ targets. But the team is also monitoring the market of Cleveland Indians’ star shortstop Francisco Lindor.

In a cost-cutting initiative, the tribe made it public that they would like to trade their star before Opening Day. And teams like the Mets always entertain the possibility of adding players of his caliber.

Mets’ president will monitor his market

Mets president Sandy Alderson appeared Wednesday on WFAN with Craig Carton and Evan Roberts and said his team will be closely monitoring all of the big names available via trade.

Per SNY: “I expect that we’ll be involved in that because they’re alternatives to free agency,” Alderson said. “The players that we might identify, who have big contracts and we have a year of control (over). (There’s a) variety of reasons their clubs would like to trade them — not withstanding, outstanding performance. That’s similar to being in the free agent market in the sense that, ‘OK, there’s a lot of money involved. There might not be as many prospects involved as in a typical trade.’ And that’s something we’re trying to avoid, which is trade prospects. So yeah, if there are — I don’t expect this to happen, but if there are really good players out there that, for whatever reason, a club is looking to move.”

Lindor is a four-time All Star with two Gold Gloves in his resume and a career .285/.346/.488 line, with a 118 wRC+. He would improve the Mets’ roster, but given that the team already has two shortstops in Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, it’s unclear if they will pursue an acquisition.

Why the New York Yankees shouldn’t even bother with Francisco Lindor

New York Yankees, Mets, Francisco Lindor

Every year the New York Yankees are connected with Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor in a potential trade, and every year that rumor simmers to a halt. While the Yankees could be in the market for a new shortstop, given how Gleyber Torres performed at the position in 2020, it seems as if they are so confident he can develop defensively.

Torres finished the 2020 season with a .933 fielding percentage, nine errors, and 11 double plays turned over 40 games. His numbers were below average, as he allowed a -3.3 error runs above average. Overall, he was completely inadequate and failed to turn routine plays at a respectable level. This fact must be forcing general manager Brian Cashman to revisit the position. Similar to what they are doing at catcher, Torres isn’t set in stone at shortstop, which is why the door to Lindor is wide open.

Trading for Francisco would require a massive hall, including prospects and starting level talent. He has one year left on his deal, so the Yankees’ best chance to acquire him is now. They would have to extend him immediately, and the Steinbrenner’s aren’t keen on overspending at the moment. In fact, Steve Cohen and the New York Mets might be a better landing spot for Lindor, as they aren’t hampered by massive contracts like Giancarlo Stanton’s.

The New York Yankees should stay close to home:

In addition, the Yankees are still trying to re-sign DJ LeMahieu, who reportedly is willing to take a pay cut if the Bombers offer him a five-year contract. Wherever he stays, he wants it to be for a long amount of time, and the fact that LeMahieu wants to stay in New York is only beneficial for them. The primary issue, DJ is 32 years old and will be 37 by the time his deal expires, and the Yankees are already locked into several contracts over the long term.

Overall, the acquisition of Lindor would be costly, in more ways than just monetary. He will also force the Yankees to send prospects, while DJ simply demands cash. The honorable thing to do is to keep DJ and move forward with the players already on the roster, given he provided two years of excellent play and won the batting title this past season.

Argument against the New York Yankees acquiring Francisco Lindor

New York yankees, Francisco Lindor

The New York Yankees have one of the best players in baseball at the top of their offseason wishlist. All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor, is on the trading block with the Cleveland Indians wanting to trim payroll before next season.

Lindor is one of the superstars of baseball. He’s incredible defensively, he’s a switch hitter who hits for average and power from both sides. On top of that, he’s got one of the most glowing personalities in all of baseball.

If you were going to build your team around anyone, Lindor would be a great option. Thus you can see the reason why the Yankees are so interested in Lindor. The Yankees are facing an interesting decision with their MVP contending second baseman, DJ LeMahieu.

The bombers would love to have LeMahieu back, but the fact that he’s in his early 30s give the Yankees pause on extending him long-term. Talk is that his agent is seeking a five year deal while the Yankees are wanting to stay in the three to four year range.

To complicate matters more, the bombers have a decision to make on Gleyber Torres. Torres is one of the young stars for the Yankees, however, last year proved that he might not be cut out to play shortstop at the major league level.

Torres looks much more comfortable at second base which is why the Yankees are kicking the tires on shortstops. I really would love for them to acquire Francisco Lindor, however, they should not overextend themselves to do it.

Argument against the Yankees making the deal

Everything I said above about Francisco Lindor is absolutely true. He’s a stud and if the Yankees acquired him and extended him long-term, I would be through the roof. However, they should tread very carefully here.

For one, Lindor is not a need at the moment. The bombers could easily bring back DJ LeMahieu and continue to work on Torres’ defense at shortstop. Maybe he can turn things around with time and more reps at the position.

This option would cost the Yankees nothing in terms of prospect capital. However, there is another big reason why the bombers should avoid going all out for Lindor in a trade this offseason.

That reason is that the market is flooded next year with All-Star shortstops. The list of shortstops available include: Lindor, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager.

Anyone of those would be welcomed additions to the Bronx. I know the Yankees are in a win-now mode, however, that market next year is also reason for them to pause on giving LeMahieu his long-term deal.

The Yankees are looking to trim payroll this year. Cashman and the front office could take the position of looking to sign someone at shortstop like Andrelton Simmons or Didi Gregorious for one year to gap to the free agent class of next year where they have their pick of All-Stars.

Going this way would also not cost the Yankees anything but money. MLB Network was suggesting the Yankees trade Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, and two top pitching prospects to acquire Lindor.

I love Franky Smiles, but with the market of 2022 and LeMahieu out there, I wouldn’t do that deal. Cashman definitely should be in on the talks for Lindor, but if the tag is too steep, it’s perfectly fine to walk away from the table.

New York Yankees Analysis: An analytical look at position match ups based on fantasy ratings

New York Yankees, JT Realmuto

For the New York Yankees, there is much talk about how to solve the team’s problems that cause them to fail, postseason after postseason, and this year losing the East Division. Do the Yankees have Torres at second or LeMahieu? Do the Yankees have Luke Voit at first or DJ at first? Do the Yankees have Brett Gardner in left or Mike Tauchman? Do the Yankees have Clint Frazier in right-field or Aaron Judge. You get the picture.

The Athletic’s Derek VanRiper has released his 2021 fantasy baseball draft rankings. He comes up with these rankings quite complicated and probably not of much interest to the average Yankee baseball fan. But trying to explain it in the most uncomplicated way, it’s a combination of The National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) and Games played by position (GPAP). Other factors go into the ratings as well; likely injuries and the effect of the past shortened 60 game season, and how much of an effect it had on performance considering the 2019 season.

What you really have to know about the rankings is that the lower the ranking, the better. In looking at these rankings, I will tease you with some comparisons for players the New York Yankees may be contemplating. There are several reasons that these rankings may be suspect, basically because the 2020 season was so unusual, and few know what effect that strange season may have had on players.

First, let’s look at our position players, starting at home plate and Gary Sanchez’s sub-par performance. Gary Sanchez – 197, Kyle Higashioka – NA (didn’t catch enough games). Austin Romine – 492.8, Yadier Molina – 299.8, J.T. Realmuto – 37.6. Most of the reason Sanchez’s ranking is as high as it is due to his home runs, not his defense or batting average. But look at the difference between Realmuto 37.6 and Sanchez’s 197.

First base; Luke Voit – 52.4, and DJ LeMahieu – 27.6. At second base, DJ at 27.6 and Gleyber Torres at 58.2. At shortstop, Torres 58.2 and Francisco Lindor – 17. Quite a difference at short. At third base Geo Urshela – 147.4 vs. Miguel Andujar – 423.8.  For outfielders, we have Clint Frazier – 176, Aaron Judge – 45.8, Giancarlo Stanton – 112.8, Aaron Hicks, 296.2, Brett Gardner – 575.2, and Mike Tauchman – 525. Both Tauchman and Gardner’s rankings were affected by lack of home runs, just like Stanton’s is better due to home runs.

These rankings are just another fun way to look at the value of players to the New York Yankees, rather than personal opinion or sportswriters’ opinion. Looking at these rankings, there is no question that J.T. Realmuto is an upgrade at the backstop, also even more obvious is the Francisco Lindor upgrade at shortstop. Another important observation is that at 27.6, DJ LeMahieu is the Yankee’s best overall player. You might also notice that of all the players on these lists (17) is Lindor.

On the pitching side, the New York Yankees Gerrit Cole rated the best of all starting pitchers at 5.8, Jordan Montgomery – 258, James Paxton – 278.8, Masahiro Tanaka – 300.8, Deivi Garcia – 304.6, J.A. Happ 425 and Jonathan Loaisiga at 658.8. Here is how the Yankee’s possible trade targets ranked: Adam Wainright 377.2, Jake Odorizzi 321.6, Walker 268, Lance Lynn 66.2, Corey Kluber 207, Charlie Morton 165.6, and lastly Trevor Bauer 15.8. This list shows that Trevor Bauer would be the Yankee’s best acquisition. For mid-rotation, it would be Lance Lynn, hands down.  I can’t compare Aroldis Chapman (90.4) and Zack Britton because the rankings only included closers. Of note is that Chapman was listed third best after Josh Hader of the Brewers and free-agent Liam Hindriks.

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Yankees will not dig deep for Lindor, Frazier will be in pinstripes

New York Yankees, Francisco Lindor

The New York Yankees have much to fix this offseason, primarily to their pitching staff, as at the moment, they only have a staff led by new pitching ace Gerrit Cole followed by Jordan Montgomery, that’s it. Of course, waiting in the wings, they do have Deivi Garcia, who made his major league debut at the end of last season. While the pitching rotation is causing all the speculation, there are other fish to fry for the Yankees: What to do with their starting catcher Gary Sanchez and how to fix the shortstop problem.

Probably for the duration of the offseason, at least for much of it, the major trade for the Yankees will be swirling around. That trade would put the Cleveland Indian’s star shortstop Francisco Lindor at short at Yankee Stadium. Many sportswriters believe at some point that that trade will happen between the Indians and Yankees. This writer does not believe that trade will ever happen.

Let’s take a close look at the situation. Yes, Gleyber Torres had a deficient first full year as the New York Yankees shortstop. The Yankees would surely like to upgrade that position. But at what cost? Francisco Lindor is an annual MVP player at short. That is not a question. But this writer believes that the cost to the Yankees will be too high for short term gain. Also, I believe it would cause as many problems as it solves.

Stumbling block number one is that any trade for Lindor would most certainly include the Yankees losing the rising star Clint Frazier, who could be the next big All-Star for years to come. MLB.com believes it would take Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Luis Gil, and possibly another prospect to put Lindor into pinstripes. That is a cost that general manager Brian Cashman would have to think long and hard at. In the end, I feel he will realize the short term gain is not worth giving up a player that may evolve into the biggest star the Yankees have had in years.

One must remember that Francisco Lindor will become a free agent after the 2021 season. At that point, Lindor will surely and rightly so, want a multi-hundred thousand dollar contract. That would put the Yankees in a position to spend much more than they will want to spend for a shortstop. So, most likely, they would end up having him at short for only one year.

Stumbling block number two is that if they get Lindor and become a free agent and lose him after just one year, they have the same position to fill again. Plus, if they do acquire Lindor, they will most likely move Gleyber Torres to his natural position at second base. If they do that, and most think they would, then what do they do with DJ LeMahieu, who they surely will try and maybe even overpay to have him remain with the Yankees.

Should the New York Yankees re-sign LeMahieu, which most experts believe they will, would surely put him at first base, displacing the 2020 home run leader Luke Voit. That move would leave Voit with no place to play, the same fate the Miguel Andujar is suffering from. Would general manager Cashman try to put a deal together that would include Voit and not Frazier? That’s a good question, but would the Indians accept that deal? Probably not.

The bottom line for the New York Yankees is that any trade for Francisco Lindor will be just too costly and complicated to complete. If they can’t sign LeMahieu but do make a trade for Lindor, they will be switching players and getting the short end of the deal. Brian Cashman will not make this trade, and Frazier will remain in pinstripes for years to come.

One New York Yankees player, Luke Voit, is traveling on some pretty thin ice, as he could be affected by a trade for Lindor, had this to say to Newsday:

“I think he’s a great fit with us,” Voit said (h/t Newsday’s Anthony Rieber). “I know he wants to be in New York. I’m sure every team wants him. He’s a stud. There’s a reason he finished top three in MVP voting, even though I thought he deserved to win it. I think he’s going to have a bunch of big-time offers, but I know he wants to win. I know he loves the guys in the clubhouse and loves the coaching staff and he wants to play in New York. I guess we’ll see, but my gut says he’s going to be a Yankee.”

Luke, if that comes true, you may have just bought your ticket out of Yankee Stadium. Although I am sure this will be sitting atop the hot stove for most of the offseason, the Yankees will feel acquiring Francisco is just not worth the cost.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.