Now we’re talkin’.
In an offseason full of uncertainty, the Indians are making star shortstop Francisco Lindor aware that they don’t have much of a chance resigning him in the 2021 offseason. MLB Network’s Jon Paul Morosi is reporting that the Phillies are among a group of five teams that will be the strongest suitors for him.
Call me intrigued.
Lindor would be a huge get for a team who has a hole in the middle of the diamond. Didi Gregorius will probably be playing elsewhere next season, while top prospect Bryson Stott is probably a little more than a year away from making an impact on the Major League team. Mr. Smile, as he is affectionate known by the city of Cleveland and his teammates, is one of the absolute studs in todays game. The soon-to-be 27 year old has a career slash line of .285/.346/.488 with 138 HRs and 411 RBIs. The switch-hitting infielder has a smooth and refined approach at the plate, as seen by his career K% (14.1%) and BB% (8.1%).
Adding Lindor’s bat to the top of the Phillies lineup would be devastating to opposing hitters. Having a switch-hitter certainty comes in handy when playing matchups later in the season.
While his skill is undeniable at the plate, his defensive might be just as good. While he may not be the an all-time great defender like Andreltron Simmons, Lindor is a plus shortstop. Every one of his defensive show above-average defense, and he has the speed and lateral quickness to get to balls in either hole. The below chart from Baseball Savant shows exactly the amount of range Lindor has.
The stats above are Lindor’s Outs Above Average numbers in 2019. For those who don’t know, OAA is a crazy analytical stat that shows how many outs a player has saved based on 4 factors: distance covered, time it took, distance from base the runner is going to, and how fast the runner is on average. Prior to 2019, OAA was an outfield-only metric. While he has negative OAA numbers fielding the ball on the second base side of the bag on a shift, his numbers at shortstop are really strong. In 2020, Lindor was only behind Fernando Tatis in OAA from the shortstop position.
In his article, Morosi speculated that “the Tribe is seeking three players — either in the Majors or close to debuting — in return for Lindor.” What kind of deal could the Phillies offer to pay that hefty price?
In any deal, I think it is safe to say that neither Alec Bohm or Spencer Howard are going anywhere. The aforementioned Stott is a nice player and should develop in to an MLB-caliber shortstop, but the pandemic threw a wrench into his development time. Another interesting arm for the Indians would be Francisco Morales, but like Stott, he lost some valuable time on the mound this season. Major league pieces like Scott Kingery, who’s really struggled to transition to the Big Leagues, and Adam Haseley would definitely be on the table as well. Former first overall pick Mickey Moniak does still have value, but he is nothing more than an interesting side piece in this kind of deal.
Making this Lindor trade is definitely the type of move that will make the Phillies more competitive next season. While the jury is still out on whether or not the Phillies can re-up with Realmuto, bringing in Lindor would be a big boost and help ease the loss of JT if he signs elsewhere. Plus, it gives the Phillies one more target that the Mets were trying to get.
Make it happen, Phillies.