This is the kind of move that gets put on the Mets’ proverbial Mount Rushmore of transactions. This is the kind of move where Mets fans will talk about where they were when they heard about it.
And those moments have been few and far between, but maybe for not much longer.
Thursday afternoon became a banner moment in Mets franchise history as they acquired four-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor — along with starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco — from the Cleveland Indians for Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario, and a pair of prospects.
New owner Steve Cohen, team president Sandy Alderson, and general manager Jared Porter delivered the first real showstopping move of Cohen’s reign as club owner by bringing on Lindor, considered to be one of the very best shortstops in all of baseball.
It satisfies a part of management’s needs of bolstering their defense up the middle while providing another face of the franchise, but general Porter admitted that there still needs to be some bolstering up the middle on Thursday when discussing the Lindor signing.
After signing catcher James McCann and with Jeff McNeil to create a double-play tandem with Lindor at second base, that only leaves center field.
There is a belief that the acquisition of Lindor and Carrasco could impact the Mets’ pursuit of star free-agent center fielder George Springer, but when asked if the former Astros star would still be an option, a source told amNewYork Metro that they “can’t see why not.”
“I think the market will dictate some of our decisions over the next few weeks,” Alderson said. “We feel we’ve made a major impact on the team. We’re not perfect, so we’ll still be active talking in the marketplace, but I think this moves us forward quite a bit.
“There’s still some work to do. We’ll see if this takes us out of certain players or makes us a candidate for other players.”
Of course, that’s another issue to address on another day, as is the future of Lindor in Queens. He’s a free agent after the 2021 season and there were no talks to hammer out an extension before the Mets executed the deal.
“I think we do have optimism [that the Mets will extend Lindor],” Alderson said. “What we have to offer, a great city, a great baseball city that we hope is on the rise. There’s a lot of excitement with new ownership.”
Regardless, this feels like a trade that is in the same stratosphere as the deals to get Gary Carter or Keith Hernandez before a 1986 championship, the blockbuster to get Mike Piazza in 1998, and even the showstopper to nab Yoenis Cespedes for a magical pennant run in 2015.
Lindor just solidified a dangerous-looking Mets infield that already featured Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil.
Carrasco provides invaluable starting-pitching depth that Porter will look to build further upon in a pitching staff of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, and come June, Noah Syndergaard.
It feels like the Mets are on the precipice of something special.