The New York Mets are acquiring All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland baseball team for a package including shortstop Andres Gimenez along with prospects in pitcher Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene, the Mets announced Thursday.
This is the first blockbuster deal of the Steve Cohen era, the Mets’ new owner, with Lindor considered by many to be one of the very best shortstops in Major League Baseball. The 27-year-old has slashed .285/.346/.488 with a 162-game average of 29 home runs and 86 RBI over his six MLB seasons.
“Any time you can add a player like Lindor, it’s one of the hardest things to get,” Mets general manager Jared Porter said. “[He is] a shortstop, a superstar, a player in his prime, a charismatic personality who makes his teammates better.”
A four-time All-Star, the hope is that he will bolster down the shortstop position for at least the next five-to-seven years, at least, should he and the Mets work out a long-term deal. Those negotiations on an extension will begin shortly.
“Well, we had one conversation with him and no conversations with his agent,” team president Sandy Alderson said. “We acquired Francisco because of his present ability and the possibility that he’ll be a Mets long-term. There’s no guarantee of that, but it’s something we’ll approach in the coming weeks.
“We’ve got Francisco for a year, we hope he’s fantastic in 2021 and that there’s every reason to talk to him about some long-term arrangement. Not getting into that conversation on this day because we’re kind of celebrating the acquisition as opposed to the extension, we feel comfortable so we’ll see where it goes.”
With his addition, the Mets’ infield becomes that much more potent in 2021. Lindor will join Pete Alonso with the occasional platoon of Dominic Smith at first base, Jeff McNeil at second while Robinson Cano serves a year-long PED suspension, and JD Davis at third.
Carrasco further sweetens the deal for the Mets seeing as they needed rotational depth to bolster their starting pitching staff.
“I’d say the conversations at the outset focused primarily on Lindor,” Alderson said. “I wouldn’t say that we ever had long discussions about Carrasco individually. It was one player, two players, back and forth. What was happening to an extent was Cleveland was trying to engage if it made sense trying to keep one and trade the other. We always had our eyes on both but it wasn’t clear if Cleveland was interested in trading both in the same deal.”
The 33-year-old right-hander has been generally consistent over the last five seasons, sporting a 3.51 ERA and a 1.155 WHIP with a 10.3 strikeouts-per-nine-innings mark. He recently experienced a triumphant return from beating leukemia in 2019, going 3-4 with a 2.91 ERA last season in 12 starts.
Heading toward Opening Day, Carrasco is a prime candidate for the No. 3 role in the Mets’ rotation behind Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman.
David Peterson and Steven Matz are also expected to be in the mix for lower rotational spots, though one will have to go when Noah Syndergaard returns from his Tommy John surgery rehab, which is expected to come in June or July.