Francisco Lindor was traded to the New York Mets this afternoon. So was pitcher Carlos Carrasco. In return, Cleveland got back infielders Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez, pitching prospect Josh Wolf, and outfield prospect Isaiah Greene.
While the Mets did send back some talent, Cleveland made this move to shed salary, pure and simple. After the trade, the payroll for Cleveland is under $50,000,000 for the 2021 season.
For the Cincinnati Reds, this deal means that one less shortstop is available. And it was arguably the best shortstop in baseball. The Reds have stated that getting a shortstop for the 2021 season was one of their top priorities. While the Reds have gone into a smaller cost-cutting mode, trading closer Raisel Iglesias and non-tendering several players – including reliever Archie Bradley – they aren’t quite to the levels of cost-cutting that Cleveland has gone to. There are still rumors out there that the team has been at least listening on offers of their higher paid talent, which could further cut payroll. For now, though, none of that has come to fruition.
The trade market for shortstops this offseason had Lindor out there, along with some rumors that Trevor Story could be had from the Colorado Rockies or possibly Carlos Correa could be moved from the Houston Astros. If a team is willing to take on money, even in the short term, it’s painfully obvious that this offseason is when you can get far more talent in a trade if you are simply willing to pay someone. You’re still going to have to trade some talent to make it happen, but not like you would have in a “normal” offseason.
Of course, there’s also the free agent market. And this offseason the market has more than a few options on it, as we’ve recently discussed. Korean shortstop Ha-seong Kim signed with the San Diego Padres at the end of December. But that still leaves Didi Greogrius, Marcus Semien, and Andrelton Simmons as options the team could look at among those at the top of the market.
Jose Garcia, at least as things stand now, seems to still be the future at the position for the Reds. It appears, though, that the future isn’t at the start of the 2021 season. If the team were to sign a long term deal with a shortstop on the market, that could change for Garcia – perhaps he is then on the trade market, or maybe he takes a slower path to the Majors and starts getting time at both second and shortstop as a way to have him prepared for either spot in case it were to open up.
Spring training begins in about five weeks. The Reds don’t have a shortstop right now. There’s still time, but every day that goes by leaves you with a feeling that getting the right shortstop has a lower chance of happening. The National League Central division is there for the taking if any team actually feels like trying to take it. So far it seems that the plan for all of the teams is to just hope the other ones get worse than they got worse.