Francisco Lindor trade winners and losers: Mets pull off heist, which is bad news for Cleveland and NL East – CBS Sports

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In one fell swoop Thursday afternoon, the New York Mets made their long-awaited offseason blockbuster and Cleveland parted with franchise icon Francisco Lindor. New York acquired Lindor in a six-player trade. The two teams have announced the deal. It is officially official.

Here are the full trade details:

Prior to the trade MLB.com ranked Wolf and Greene the Nos. 9 and 10 prospects in New York’s system, respectively. Gimenez was a top prospect at this time last year. He impressed defensively last season and usurped Rosario at shortstop. The Mets made the trade and managed to keep top prospects Ronny Mauricio and Francisco Alvarez. That’s some nifty maneuvering.

So what’s the fantasy impact of the Lindor deal? CBS Sports experts broke it down on the latest episode of Fantasy Baseball Today. Listen below:

Needless to say, a trade of this magnitude has impact that stretches beyond the two teams and six players involved. Here are the big winners and losers from Thursday’s blockbuster.

Winner: The Mets

Obviously. The Mets just added a superstar shortstop and an above-average starter, and gave up what amounts to spare parts. Gimenez is promising, no doubt, but he’s not Lindor, and when you’re getting Lindor, you give up a player like Gimenez. The Mets subtracted minimally from their MLB roster while adding immensely, and it did not cost them any top prospects. If you fancy yourself a contender, this is a trade you make eight days a week and twice on Sundays. The Mets are huge, huge winners. No question about it.

Loser: Cleveland

The city and the fans, not the franchise itself (the team made this trade of their own accord and deserve all the backlash they receive). Lindor was the team’s best and most beloved player since Jim Thome, and now he’s gone, with his tenure having peaked with a World Series Game 7 loss. Don’t overlook Carrasco either. He was a popular player who did a ton in the community. He’ll be missed as well. Cleveland’s payroll is down to roughly $40 million — $40 million! — which is just embarrassing for a Major League Baseball franchise in 2021, pandemic or no pandemic. I can’t imagine what this all feels like for the fan base. It has to be a gut punch. I’m sorry, folks.

Winner: Francisco Lindor

No more trade rumors. Those aren’t hanging over his head anymore. Lindor is now free to go play baseball with a fun and exciting team, and maybe go win a World Series. As an added bonus, he can expect the Mets and their fabulously wealthy new owner to approach him about a contract extension at some point. I don’t think the Mets make this trade without planning to make a serous effort to retain Lindor long-term. He’s a great and ultra-likeable player in his prime. He’s the type of player a big-market team absolutely should sign. Lindor may still decide to test free agency next offseason. That’s his right. At least now he can rest comfortably knowing the Mets are going to put $300 million or so on the table at some point. The big offer is much closer to a reality now than it was in Cleveland.

Carrasco going to the Mets presumably takes them out of the running for Bauer, the top starter on the free agent market. That’s one fewer suitor and one fewer big-market team he can use as leverage in contract talks. Bauer is still going to get paid, don’t feel bad for him, but his market is dwindling a bit. The Mets are likely out, the Padres are presumably out following the Yu Darvish and Blake Snell trades, and the White Sox are probably out too now that they have Lance Lynn. The teams that most stand out as obvious fits for Bauer keep acquiring pitchers who aren’t Trevor Bauer.

Winner: Free agent shortstops

Specifically Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien, and Andrelton Simmons. It was an open secret Cleveland would trade Lindor this winter, and I think shortstop-needy teams were waiting to see where he landed before moving on to alternatives. The Blue Jays and Cardinals were said to be in on Lindor, so they may now pivot to those free agent shortstops who remain unsigned. The Braves, Nationals, Phillies, Twins, and Yankees are among the clubs that need an infielder (though not necessarily a shortstop). The shortstop market should pick up now. 

Welcome to the trade rumor circuit, Jose. You’re the next Cleveland superstar on the way out the door. Ramirez is an elite player signed to an ultra-affordable contract (owed $33 million through 2023 if his two club options are picked up) and history tells us — history that was repeated with the Lindor trade — Cleveland will trade him at some point. The Braves stand out as a perfect fit given their third base needs. The Nationals and Phillies too, though Atlanta has more young players to peddle. Once you’ve taken the plunge and traded Lindor (and Carrasco), might as well get busy moving Ramirez too, while his value is sky high.

Loser: The rest of the NL East

I still think the Braves are the team to beat in the division, but it is not nearly as clear-cut as it was 24 hours ago. The Mets just added two impact players at minimal cost, and chances are they’re not done yet either. There’s still room on the roster (and in the budget) to add George Springer, who would give them their first natural center fielder in quite some time. The Phillies haven’t finished above .500 since 2011 and may lose J.T. Realmuto to free agency, and the Nationals are about three good hitters away from an average offense. The Marlins are on the upswing but not yet ready to challenge for a division title, I don’t think. Thursday’s trade is bad, bad news for the rest of the division.

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