If Cleveland makes shortstop Francisco Lindor available, the SF Giants have the pieces to get a deal done. Here are five potential packages.
With the majority of MLB teams looking to clear payroll this offseason, it seems very likely that Cleveland will look to trade star shortstop Francisco Lindor this offseason. The SF Giants are reportedly one of the few teams prepared to be aggressive this offseason. If that’s the case, they have to make a big push for Lindor.
Grant Brisbee of The Athletic made a compelling argument for the Giants to pass on any Lindor sweepstakes. He points to Lindor’s unexceptional career on-base percentages and wonders if fans could be falling for his name recognition to discuss him as a star when he might just be a really good player. He argues that the prospect capital it would take is not worth what may not be the exceptional return fans want.
The thing is, in this unpredictable offseason, even if Brisbee is right, it doesn’t necessarily mean the Giants have to move on. The fact is Lindor’s projected arbitration salary will approach $20 million and with any acquiring team likely to pursue a hefty long-term extension, it’s hard to see Cleveland finding a particular seller-friendly market.
A rational baseball fan would point out that if that turns out to be the case, why wouldn’t Cleveland just play out 2021 with the face of their franchise? Of course, imagine trading Mookie Betts. The fact is, if MLB owners want to cut costs, there is not much any front-office executive is going to say about marginal value or prospects that is going to move the needle. If Cleveland’s ownership says they need to move Lindor, they will take the best offer available.
If that turns out to be the case, the Giants may be able to gamble on Lindor’s star upside at the prospect cost of just a good player. The fact remains, their farm system’s depth has improved leaps and bounds over the past couple of seasons, and they are well-positioned to trade from that without sacrificing their future.