According to a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the SF Giants “inquired about” star shortstop Francisco Lindor with Cleveland before he was traded to the New York Mets. Per his report, Cleveland brought up Joey Bart as part of the possible return package. Clearly, the Giants declined to pursue negotiations much further. However, after Bart’s struggles in his first taste of the majors, it’s still worth mentioning that other front offices still value him as a potential centerpiece for a star player.
Bart was indeed a part of our look at five possible Giants trades for Lindor earlier this offseason. A consensus top-50 prospect in baseball at a position of organizational strength in San Francisco, it makes sense that other teams would wonder whether he’s more available than prospects like Marco Luciano or even possibly Heliot Ramos. Lindor, however, with just one remaining year of team control, was not enough to lead the Giants to pull the trigger.
Even in a down year at the plate for Lindor, the 27-year old posted 1.7 wins above replacement (WAR) in the pandemic-shortened 60-game season. That’s on pace for nearly 4.6 WAR over a full 162-game season. While he posted a career-low .750 OPS, his elite defense at shortstop enabled him to separate himself from the pack.
Since his rookie season in 2015, Lindor has finished in the top-15 in AL MVP voting every year, reached every All-Star team, won two Gold Gloves, and a pair of Silver Slugger awards. However, as part of a stacked 2021-22 free-agent class next offseason, it’s not out of the question the Giants could be planning to make a big free-agent run at him down the line. Granted, it’s hard to envision him reaching the open market now that he’s in New York.
Of course, Bart was the second overall selection by the Giants in the 2018 MLB Draft and has quickly ascended through the minor leagues, making his MLB debut this season. However, he struggled mightily in his first taste of big-league action. In 111 plate appearances, Bart struck out 41 times against just 3 walks and posted a .233/.288/.320 triple-slash.
The SF Giants have yet to make a roster move in Farhan Zaidi’s tenure that grabbed the headlines around MLB; acquiring Francisco Lindor would have changed that. However, with Cleveland hoping to discuss Joey Bart, the Giants appear to have been uninterested in pushing negotiations forward.