Knowing they could never meet his price, the Indians dealt four-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets, who have a new owner willing to spend at baseball’s highest levels in order to get his franchise back on top.
The cash-strapped Indians sent Lindor and Carrasco to the Mets on Thursday for young infielders Andrés Giménez and Amed Rosario, and two minor league prospects: right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene. It’s a move Cleveland hopes can keep it competitive and capable of ending baseball’s longest title drought.
Dealing Lindor, who is eligible for free agency after the 2021 season, will cut roughly $30 million off the Indians’ payroll and allow them to rebuild.
For the Mets, the acquisition is another sign owner Steve Cohen means business.
Lindor, who will be playing in a far different spotlight than he experienced in Cleveland, impacts the game with his bat, glove and legs. A two-time Gold Glove winner, he’s a career .285 hitter and averaged 29 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 steals in his six major league seasons — all with the Indians, who drafted him in 2011.
He’s been the face of the Indians’ franchise, with an infectious smile and joy for playing that has made him one of Cleveland’s most popular athletes.
Carrasco is one of the game’s best comeback stories, overcoming leukemia to become one of the AL’s steadiest starters. The 33-year-old righty has an 88-73 career record with a 3.73 ERA.
Beyond his stats, Carrasco was a team leader. But with an abundance of young pitchers, including Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, the Indians were in position to move a player of Carrasco’s caliber to fill more holes.
The 25-year-old Rosario is a good start. He was New York’s primary shortstop the past three-plus seasons, though he struggled at the plate last year and lost playing time to Giménez.
Lindor is signed for only one more season, so the Mets will have to get to work quickly on locking him up for the long term.
Carrasco is signed at $12 million for each of the next two seasons, part of a deal that includes a $14 million team option for 2023 with a $3 million buyout. The option would become guaranteed if he pitches 170 innings in 2022 and is found to be healthy for the 2023 season.