How the Francisco Lindor blockbuster shakes up the MLB

Yesterday morning, the New York Mets made a big splash to acquire former Cleveland Shortstop Francisco Lindor. Lindor had been speculated to be moving on from Cleveland for some time now, as the two sides had failed to come to an agreement over the past couple offseasons. Lindor continually bet on himself to produce, as he knew a larger market team would be able to meet his demands if he made it to free agency. While he never made it to the promised land, Lindor found himself a team that will certainly be able to give him the money he wants.

The final terms of the deal resulted in Cleveland sending away Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, while getting back infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario, pitcher Josh Wolf, and outfielder Isaiah Greene. While Lindor will draw much of the attention in this deal, the Mets acquiring Carrasco is certainly notable too. Carrasco is a solid veteran addition to an already strong rotation. Jacob deGrom has been arguably the best pitcher in the majors over the past three seasons, winning two Cy Young Awards and finishing third for another. Couple that with the return of ace counterpart Noah Syndergaard, who is set to return from Tommy John surgery sometime this season, and Marcus Stroman, who will return after opting out of the 2020 season, and this rotation is very solid through the top four.

The Mets also now have a very scary 3-4-5 punch in the lineup, with Lindor slotting in alongside Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto. Alonso has developed into one of the best power hitters in the league, and having Lindor offers him some protection, as pitchers can’t just pitch around Alonso. Conforto has also been one of the Mets most consistent hitters, and had arguably his best season in the shortened sixty game slate, as he hit .322 with nine home runs and 32 runs batted in. Lindor may end up batting leadoff, but either way it shakes out, this lineup just became a lot more dangerous.

Cleveland didn’t make this deal with the idea of it leading them into a full scale rebuild however. Led by Shane Bieber, who is coming off a Cy Young campaign, Cleveland seems to have a plethora of young pitchers who can make an impact, such as Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac, and Triston McKenzie. Rosario and Gimenez will help offset Lindor’s departure, and the lineup still features one of the most dangerous hitters in the league in Jose Ramirez, who just came off a second place finish in the MVP race. Cleveland will still be contenders in the weaker AL Central, but the lineup will need some new players to step up to help out Ramirez.

This trade may be the first domino to fall in a number of moves set to happen. Many of the top names remain on the free agent market, the cream of the crop being George Springer. Aside from the San Diego Padres making two huge moves for Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, no other teams have done much that jumps off the page until now. The Mets decided to break the bank, even with the uncertainty of the season due to COVID related issues, and this may push teams to start getting more aggressive and making some moves. The MLB’s free agency period has been dragging for the past couple of months, and this could be the spark it needs to get it to start moving.

In fact, it’s already starting to happen. The Mets most likely saw the Padres splashy moves, and felt they needed to follow that up. The Mets are certainly not on the same level as the Padres, but when it rains it pours. The Mets are looking to make a move on the Atlanta Braves in a competitive NL East division, and adding Lindor and Carrasco gives them some reason for optimism. Now it will be interesting to see how other teams in the league react to this massive deal, and hopefully add some more excitement to what’s been a dull free agency period.

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