Why would the rebuilding Pirates give up good prospects for Francisco Lindor? It’s possible a team with nothing to spend their money on view Lindor as a locker room leader that you can build a team around. Lindor’s game would fit perfectly at PNC Park, and with their investments in rebuilding their minor league system, it wouldn’t be long before reinforcements arrived.
Lindor has made it known that one of the things he likes about Cleveland is they are contenders, and he wants to play for one. A one-year audition in Pittsburgh may not provide enough winning to even make Lindor consider staying.
To make a trade with Pittsburgh work, the Indians would look to include Bradley Zimmer who has promise, but is in a logjam within the Indians outfield. The Pirates can give up more prospects if they can supplement some multi-year risk should Lindor not re-sign.
For the Cleveland Indians the only MLB ‘ready’ player in this deal is Cole Tucker, who’s brother is currently in the Indians system. This is just speculation, so why not let Cleveland try to get monopolies on talented brothers? Tucker is a utility knife, and raw talent that you could give more at-bats to and find something special. If he was in a stronger organization, he may be a Triple-A player still improving, but don’t discount the value of his big league time thus far.
The other players are top 15 prospects in the Pirates organization. While getting MLB-ready talent back for Lindor is the goal, adding high ceiling depth to the Indians farm can also be a winning outcome. Oneill Cruz has been moving up the MLB Top 100 for some time, and would become a great asset to the Indians prospect depth.
Brennan Malone would find himself being traded twice in two off-seasons, after the Pirates acquired him for Starling Marte, but he adds to the Indians pitching depth and keeps the pipeline strong for what has made the Indians consistent contenders, starting pitching.
The Pirates will not be trading for Lindor. In 2018, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a payroll of $91 million, which isn’t spectacular, but competitive. They have shown a knack for spending at trade deadlines when competitive. Fast forward to 2020, and their payroll was under $50mil and they ended up spending just over $25mil in the league shortened season.
Trading the farm for Lindor and not making playoffs is an unlikely ending here. So lets move up the division and keep looking.