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Elephant Rumblings: Indians trade Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco to Mets in blockbuster swap

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Cleveland Indians v Tampa Bay Rays
#HugWatch except they both got traded so they’re actually still teammates
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Good morning afternoon evening, Athletics Nation!

Sorry for the break in content the last couple days. The rest of the world has been a bit distracting, and it’s been tough to focus on sports — and what little attention I’ve had to offer has gone to the Warriors, as I’ve been helping out at Golden State of Mind too. Meanwhile, the latest baseball news has been a small-market team dumping its franchise player, and another Hall of Famer passing away.

Now let’s get back to it!

MLB got its biggest move of the offseason so far, as the New York Mets swung a blockbuster trade to acquire shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians received four players in return — young middle infielders Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, pitching prospect Josh Wolf and outfield prospect Isaiah Greene. The infielders (ages 25 an 22) have each enjoyed stints of MLB success, while the prospects are 2nd-round draft picks from the last two years.

For the Mets, this is a massive upgrade to their roster, and the first huge splash by new team owner Steve Cohen. Lindor is a superstar, who has received MVP votes in each of the last four seasons and finished as high as fifth in 2017. He’s a switch-hitting shortstop with two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers on his resume, and he’s only beginning his prime at age 27. However, this is his final summer before free agency, and his arbitration price tag will run in the neighborhood of $20 million.

Carrasco is also a star, and in 2020 he returned from a cancer diagnosis to post excellent numbers in the short season. “Cookie” has been a consistently above-average starter since 2014, with monster strikeout rates each year and a 4th-place Cy Young finish in 2017. He’s signed for 2021-22 at $12 million each, with an option for 2023, and he’ll join Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman in New York’s rotation.

The Indians save $32 million in salary for the coming season, but at the expense of two players who were wildly, almost indescribably popular in Cleveland. SB Nation site Let’s Go Tribe is not happy about seeing a perennial postseason contender torn down prematurely to save a quick buck, and is especially upset about Cookie being sent away. That said, in terms of pure value it’s a fairly even swap, with Gimenez as the headliner, despite Cleveland’s lack of leverage since everyone already assumed they’d need to dump the pricey Lindor.

This is also an ominous moment for Oakland A’s fans. There’s no specific indication that they’re planning to trade away any young stars this winter, and in fact it would make almost no sense to do so at this moment based on where everybody’s value is at after last season. Buuut, this is totally the kind of thing the A’s do every few years, and we know it’ll happen again to us someday — hopefully later than sooner.

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