Francisco Lindor Trade: Scouting Reports On Every Player Headed To Cleveland
The Mets rang in the new year by making their first major move of the Steve Cohen era on Thursday when they acquired all-star shortstop Francisco Lindor and righthander Carlos Carrasco from the Indians for a package of four players fronted by middle infielder Andres Gimenez, who showed a mix of present skills and upside as a 2020 rookie.
The deal almost immediately invites a pair of questions: 1) Will the Mets now sign Lindor, a four-time all-star, to a hefty contract extension? And 2) Is this the defining move of Steve Cohen's first offseason, or will the Mets soon add to their riches by splurging on a high-priced free agent such as George Springer?
Lindor, 27, has one year remaining on his contract and has long been a subject of trade rumors, which only intensified as Cleveland entered the offseason aiming to shed payroll. He hit .258/.335/.415 with a 100 wRC+ in the shortened 2020 season, production which lagged behind his sterling career numbers.
Below are scouting reports and analysis on every player involved in the deal.
Andres Gimenez, SS/2B
The leading light of the Mets’ 2015 international signing class, Gimenez has developed into a viable big league middle infielder who excels defensively and on the bases, with room to grow as a hitter. He reached Double-A as a 19-year-old in 2018 and over the course of that season plus 2019 didn’t do much to separate himself with the bat. That began to change for Gimenez in the 2019 Arizona Fall League, when he hit .371 to win the batting title. He carried that momentum into 2020 and made the Mets’ Opening Day roster, eventually edging his way into the regular shortstop role in September. Gimenez has a plus glove at shortstop and second base, with the versatility to play third base. He recorded a 94th percentile sprint speed as a rookie, according to MLB Statcast, and went 8-for-9 in stolen base attempts. Gimenez has a discerning batting eye and could develop into a plus big league hitter with fringe power, perhaps more.
Amed Rosario, SS
Rosario was one of the Mets’ brighter prospects of the 2010s but never quite put his myriad talents together for an entire season in Queens. He entered the 2017 season as the No. 8 prospect in baseball and made his debut that summer. He received the lion’s share of work at shortstop in 2018 and 2019 before ceding playing time to Andres Gimenez down the stretch in 2020. Rosario is one of the fastest players in baseball but hasn’t gotten on base enough or batted high enough in the order consistently for that speed to manifest in large stolen base totals. He peaked with the bat in 2019, when he put up a 101 OPS+ and shined in the second half by batting .319/.351/.453. Overall, Rosario has been undermined by poor plate discipline, a low exit velocity and too many unproductive ground balls. He is a fine defensive shortstop who profiles as a bottom-of-the-order hitter unless he takes giant strides as he enters his mid 20s. Rosario is under club control for three more seasons.
Josh Wolf, RHP
The Mets went nearly $800,000 over slot to sign the Houston native Wolf out of high school in the second round of the 2019 draft. He looked sharp in a five-game cameo in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League that summer but didn’t pitch in front of scouts again until instructional league in 2020. Wolf spent last season working with a private instructor to boost his velocity. Scouts indicate that pursuit has cost him control and feel for his secondary pitches, but Wolf is a plus athlete who should be able to work through those issues. The Mets valued his projectable 6-foot-3 frame and feel for four pitches. His fastball arrives in the low 90s and tops at 96 mph and could sit in the mid 90s as he matures. Wolf’s breaking ball is his best pitch. He calls it a curveball, but its qualities more resemble a slider with abrupt break in the 78-81 mph band. Either way, he has feel for spin and the starter traits necessary to add velocity and hone a changeup.
Isaiah Greene, OF
The Mets drafted the SoCal high school outfielder in 2020 with the supplemental second-round pick they added when free agent Zack Wheeler signed with the Phillies. Greene signed for roughly slot value and got on the field for the Mets at instructional league. He shook off the rust of not playing competitively all summer to stand out as one of the Mets’ better young hitters at instructs. He hit .464 in camp while facing pro pitchers for the first time. He has a line drive-oriented lefthanded swing and a disciplined, hit-over-power approach that could make him a plus hitter down the line. His power will probably be borderline unless he overhauls his approach. Greene lacks the pure speed or instincts to stick in center field and probably settles in left field with a below-average arm.
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Francisco Lindor, SS
Lindor is a generational talent who is on a Hall of Fame trajectory as he enters his age-27 season. He nearly won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2015 and helped lead the Indians to the AL pennant the next year. Lindor hasn’t won an MVP award but is a threat to do so in his prime. Lindor’s production was down in the 60-game 2020 season, but that appears to be variation around the mean. There were no red flags surrounding his batted-ball profile or health. Lindor is Gold Glove-winning shortstop and impact hitter with a career 117 OPS+. The only shortstops with more 30-homer seasons than Lindor, who has three, are Alex Rodriguez (seven), Ernie Banks (five) and Miguel Tejada (four). Barring a contact extension with the Mets, Lindor will be a free agent after the 2021 season.
Carlos Carrasco, RHP
Acquiring Carrasco to fortify a beleaguered rotation was a key to this deal for the Mets. The club had no answer to pitching injuries in 2020, when rookie David Peterson was the club’s de facto No. 2 starter behind all-world ace Jacob deGrom. Now with Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman returning from injuries to join deGrom and Carrasco in the rotation, the 2021 Mets have a strong front four on paper. Carrasco turns 34 in March and is under contract for two seasons with a team option for 2023. He made a triumphant return from leukemia in 2019 and turned in an excellent 2020 campaign that saw him miss bats (nearly 11 strikeouts per nine innings), log innings (68) and record a 157 ERA+ that ranked sixth in the American League.