Fantasizing about Francisco Lindor in pinstripes


As a follower of the Yankees, the richest franchise in baseball and fifth in all of sports, they’re often associated with superstar names when guys become available because they have the money, pedigree, and even the assets if it’s via trade. Look no further than the latest example of a potential trade target that would require a massive package, shortstop Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians.

Photo Credit: Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports

Widely regarded as a top-ten player and one of the more well-liked guys in all of baseball, Buster Olney of ESPN suggested the Indians may explore trading Lindor this offseason and that he sees the shortstop ending up in pinstripes when he hits free agency. 
At first thought, one may be wondering why the Indians would trade a superstar who seems to have not even hit his full ceiling yet at one of the game’s premier positions. Consider the fact though that it seems the Indians championship window has likely closed as well as how much they could net in return for Lindor. With the sudden downfall of Jose Ramirez, Corey Kluber now 33 years old, the loss of key veterans over the last few years such as Andrew Miller, Edwin Encarnacion, and Michael Brantley, as well as the seemingly up-in-the-air future of Trevor Bauer, this team’s future looks a bit murky as of now. They currently sit at 34-33, two games back of the Wild Card spot in the AL. Bauer’s been open to the fact that he’d like to play on one-year deals for the rest of his career and if the Indians aren’t in contention, he could be either be a trade candidate or someone who could likely end up leaving Cleveland for more money.

Where Lindor would fit into the Yankees infield may be one drawback to a potential trade. The Yanks currently possess infielders Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar. Andujar is the likely trade option here as Gregorius and Torres are not getting traded anytime soon and the Indians would not be interested in acquiring a 31-year-old infielder as a headliner for the trade. Urshela doesn't have that kind of trade value to be included in a deal for someone like Lindor and it remains to be seen if the first half of 2019 is an aberration from Urshela. Andujar’s name comes up nearly every time when the Yanks are in discussions of acquiring a top talent, whether it be a starting pitcher or in this case, Lindor. What makes Andujar so attractive to the Indians in this scenario is he’s already proven it at the MLB level and he still has a ton of potential with room to grow. 

With the possible infield of Gregorius, Torres, and Lindor though, that would mean the Yankees would have to move positions of at least one of the guys. Lindor likely stays at shortstop with how excellent he is defensively there. From there, you could move Gregorius to third and this ensures that only one of the three would have to change positions. The more logical scenario would be to have Torres move to everyday third base, as he’s played there before, having logged 320 innings at third in the minors. Across all levels, Gregorius has played just 10 innings at the position, which was back in 2014 at the big-league level with the Diamondbacks. Gregorius moving to second base post-Tommy John surgery wouldn’t be a bad idea either. With all of that being said, it’s much easier said than done in moving one guy, possibly two, to brand new positions. If Gregorius and Torres would be willing in this scenario to do so, you obviously pull the trigger on a superstar like Lindor. Now in his sixth season, Lindor's made the ASG each of the past three seasons, finishing top ten in the AL MVP voting each time. He's once again off to a fantastic start for the mediocre Indians, slashing .302/.369/.540 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs along with seven stolen bases in 48 games. 

Photo Credit: Joshua Gunter/cleveland.com
As far as what it would take to get Lindor, it would have to be a mix of elite prospects and MLB-ready players. Andujar, as mentioned, would be a likely inclusion in the deal. From there, you’d have to think one of, if not both, Estevan Florial and Clint Frazier would be in the deal. Florial is a bit raw and seems to still be a few years away, but that may be just what the Indians want so that they have time to rebuild a postseason team in the meantime. They also may be interested though in bringing back their former prospect Clint Frazier, whom the Yanks acquired in the Andrew Miller trade back in 2016. Frazier is ready to play now, as evidenced by his .276/.328/.523 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 49 games this season. Frazier’s outfield mishaps this season may be a concern to some, but he still has plenty of time to work out the kinks defensively, as we all know he has the bat to be a very good player in MLB. 

Now looking to the pitching side for this hypothetical package, the most intriguing pitching prospect in the Yankees system is a name some may not have heard of and that’s Deivi Garcia. Garcia has been a quietly rising prospect in the system for a few seasons now and he’s continued that ascension in 2019. He pitched to a 3.06 ERA in four starts along with 33 K in 17.2 IP (16.8 K/9) for High-A Tampa this season before being promoted to Double-A. Through seven starts with Trenton, Garcia has continued to show excellent stuff, pitching to 52 K in 36 IP (13.0 K/9). He has struggled mightily though with his control at both levels this season, as he’s pitched a 4.5 BB/9 in his 11 combined starts. The Indians could even ask for a fourth prospect from the Yanks, possibly someone like Jonathan Loaisiga, Chance Adams, or a pitcher along those lines.

Whether the Indians would even explore trading Lindor or not remains to be seen and even the suggested package may not be enough for a guy like Lindor, but if he is made available, watch for the Yankees to be involved and heavily interested. Either way, it’s fun to think about Lindor being in pinstripes.

All stats from Baseball Reference.

Article by: Spencer Schultz

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