Cleveland Indians: Response to NY Post story on Lindor, Yankees

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

One national baseball writer believes Francisco Lindor should be on the Yankees’ shopping list this winter. Is his proposed return for the Indians fair?

In the aftermath of the Yankees’ devastating walk-off elimination Saturday night, Joel Sherman wrote a story in the New York Post outlining a couple of high-profile moves they can make to avoid a similar fate next year.

One of the suggestions was to sign impending free agent Gerrit Cole; the other was to acquire Francisco Lindor in a trade with the Cleveland Indians. Considering the team in question is the Yankees, both moves are well within the realm of possibility on the surface.

The Yankees possess the self-awareness to understand the Astros are a step ahead of them across the board, along with the resources to close that gap by going into overkill mode this winter.

In regard to a Lindor trade, Sherman admittedly prefaces his suggestion with the phrase, “pipe dream.” It is Sherman’s construction of the hypothetical trade that renders it so. He eliminates Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, and Luis Severino from the equation as potential pieces coming back to Cleveland in such a deal.

Considering the Indians’ pitching depth, Severino already figures not to be part of the discussion. Why would the Indians trade away their franchise player, significantly weakening their offense, in return for a starting pitcher?

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Judge is another reasonable stopping point for similar reasons. It’s unfair to lump a player of his caliber into the category of “right-handed outfielder,” but that’s what he is, and the Indians already have a towering right-handed power bat (who is also a strikeout machine) in Franmil Reyes.

The insinuation that the Yankees would be able to acquire Lindor without giving up Torres, however, is where this proposed blockbuster loses me. The Indians missed the playoffs in 2019, but not by much. There is no evidence to suggest they can’t be at least as good in 2020, and it’s not far-fetched to pick them to win the AL Central for the fourth time in five years.

With the Indians still inside their proverbial “championship window,” giving up a generational talent like Lindor does them no good if they’re only getting back prospects. Forget about the construction of the roster and farm system for a moment, and simply consider the reaction of an already irritable fan base.

Right or wrong, there is a large contingent of Indians fans who don’t believe winning a championship is the top priority of the franchise’s owners. Trading the team’s best position player since Jim Thome without getting a proven, top-tier MLB player in return while the team still has the roster to compete for said championship would be, in a word, unwise.

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The Indians have the right to ask for Torres if such trade talks should ever commence, and the Yankees have the right to declare him a deal-breaker. But at no point should the Indians settle for a trade package that doesn’t include a player of Torres’ caliber if their own best player is on the table.