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The New York Mets have acquired SS Francisco Lindor and RHP Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for SS Amed Rosario, SS Andres Gimenez, RHP Josh Wolf and OF Isaiah Greene.
When the Mets were bought by billionaire lifelong fan Steve Cohen, long-suffering fans came up with their wildest dreams in hope that Cohen could help make it a reality. Well, the team previously signed Trevor May and James McCann, and now they got a starter and an infielder, and the only position category that hasn't been improved is outfield, and George Springer could be coming soon. The Mets are showing how actually spending money will lead to a better team. Lindor is a free agent at the end of the 2021 season, but the Mets will do all that they can to extend him. While Lindor is coming off of the worst year of his career, he was still an above average player. Carrasco was amazing in 2020 in his full-time return after recovering from cancer. They don't even give up that much, as the top prospect that they trade away is rated 9th in their system, and they get one of the league's best shortstops without giving up their top prospect, shortstop Ronny Mauricio. Rosario had fallen out of the starting lineup, and Gimenez replaced him, and Lindor is a major improvement on Gimenez, while Carrasco is a number two starter. A lot of things will have to go wrong for the Mets to lose this deal.
Lindor, 27, hit eight home runs with six stolen bases, a .258 batting average and an OPS of .750 in a league high 266 Plate Appearances in 2020. In his MLB career, all in Cleveland, Lindor has hit 138 homers with 99 stolen bases, a .285 average and an OPS of .833 in 3510 Plate Appearances. Lindor has a career bWAR of 28.7.
Carrasco, 33, had a 2.91 ERA with 82 strikeouts, a 3.59 FIP and a 1.206 WHIP in 68 innings in 2020. In his MLB career, Carrasco has an ERA of 3.77 with 1305 strikeouts, a 3.42 FIP and a 1.196 WHIP, plus a 21.4 bWAR in 1242.1 innings.
The Indians love to trade away talent to shed salary, and Lindor is just the greatest example of it. Mike Clevinger and Trevor Bauer were previously the best examples, but this deal is on a new level. With this trade, they don't have to pay Lindor the $19.5 million he's owed this year, or the $38 million Carrasco is owed over the next three years. That would be a good explanation if shedding a lot salary from a successful deal was a smart approach, but it isn't. The Indians will hope that Gimenez and Rosario can combine for the production that Lindor brought, but even Gimenez, who was recently a top prospect, isn't expected to be that player. They get some lower level prospects in Wolf and Greene. The Indians have a ton of young arms like Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale and Tristan McKenzie who can replace Carrasco, but "Cookie" has been a Cleveland staple for 11 seasons, so it won't be easy to lose two respected and talented members of the team. Some eager Indians fans may point out that Lindor and Gimenez had the exact same OPS+ last year, but 2020 was an uncharacteristically bad year for Lindor. Rosario could play second base for Cleveland in 2021 as Cesar Hernandez is still a free agent. Wolf was a second rounder in 2019 out of St. Thomas High School is Houston. He has very limited minor experience. Greene was a second rounder in 2020's MLB draft out of Corona High School. He is 19 years old and has no minor league experience. Wolf and Greene were ranked as the 9th and 10th best prospects in the Mets system prior to the deal.
Rosario, 25, hit four home runs with a .252 average and an OPS of .643 in 147 Plate Appearances for the Mets last year. In his MLB career, all in New York, Rosario has hit 32 home runs with 50 stolen bases, a .268 average and an OPS of .705 in 1564 Plate Appearances.
Gimenez, 22, hit three home runs with eight stolen bases, a .263 batting average and a .732 OPS in 132 Plate Appearances in 2020, his rookie year. He finished 7th in National League Rookie of the Year voting. Gimenez stole 93 bases in 393 minor league games.
Wolf, 20, had a 3.38 ERA with 12 strikeouts and a 1.250 WHIP in eight innings for the Gulf League Mets in 2019. That is all of his minor league experience.