The Hot Stove got very hot on Thursday, when a big trade went down between two MLB interleague clubs. Although it did not involve the Los Angeles Dodgers, it could have ramifications for them down the line.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor was traded with his teammate, RHP Carlos Carrasco, to the New York Mets. In return the Cleveland Indians will receive Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez, both infielders, and RHP Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene, both minor leaguers.
Lindor had long been rumored to be a trade target of the Dodgers. Even as of Thursday morning, Jim Bowden of The Athletic was still proposing it as an option in his article. (He also mentions that Carlos Correa would be a good option for the Dodgers’ infield, and I can’t imagine how well that would go over).
So what does this trade do for the shape of baseball in 2021 and beyond?
At first glance, it brings the Mets a whole lot closer to challenging the Atlanta Braves for supremacy in the NL East. The addition of Cookie Carrasco shores up a spot in the rotation. They are probably one more bat away from being on the same level as the Braves, and they could easily accomplish that by signing free agent George Springer.
There will now be three teams in the National League with a legitimate chance to make a threat to the Dodgers, with the Mets now joining the Braves and the San Diego Padres. Hopefully, there will be a regular length season in 2021, or if not, one long enough for the Dodgers to play the NL East and get some familiarity with all the teams.
Lindor and his fantastic smile coming to The Big Apple conceivably make him the biggest name in New York baseball. And, if not so, then most definitely all the attention has been shifted from the Yankees to the Mets. Do the Yankees do something to put themselves back in the spotlight?
The Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS last season after coming in second to them in the AL East. Perhaps the Mets stealing all the limelight propels the Yankees into re-signing DJ LeMehieu, another player the Dodgers have been linked to all offseason. We’ve discussed at length what a great addition LeMahieu would be to the Dodgers roster with his flexibility and needed right-handed bat.
Several New York writers allude to the thought the Mets signed Lindor with the intention of signing him to a long-term deal. His current contract ends after the 2021 season. If the Mets do so, like the Dodgers did with Mookie Betts, that could limit the market for the class of shortstops which could potentially include Corey Seager, Correa, and Trevor Story. Many fans of the Dodgers would like to see Seager extended before he reaches free agency, but with Scott Boras as his agent, that seems unlikely. Regardless, the top shortstop should command around $30 million a year.
Competition is good for the game and makes it more fun for fans to watch. One of the biggest expected trades of the winter has now happened, and now maybe the stove will stay hot for awhile, as we inch closer to February and spring training.