Rumors has swirled recently that the Cleveland Indians will be trading All Star Shortstop Francisco Lindor this winter, and every site is telling you why the Cardinals should trade for him. MLB.com even went as far as throwing together a decent package that could bring him to St. Louis: Harrison Bader, Tommy Edman, Johan Oviedo, and Angel Rondon for Lindor. As much as I’d like to see this happen, there are a few reasons it won’t.
First off is the money. In 2020, Lindor’s salary was $17.5M and he’s due a raise again through arbitration; MLB Trade Rumors is projecting his 2021 salary to be somewhere between $17.5M and $21.5M. If the Cardinals won’t keep Kolten Wong at second base for $12.5M, they don’t have the money to throw at Lindor for a season. The team has said they are financially strapped due to the pandemic and will most likely be cutting payroll. They also need to find ways to bring back Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, so the fanbase won’t revolt. While Lindor would be nice, they don’t have the money.
Wong is the second reason; right now, they have Edman penciled in at second, with Edmundo Sosa as a potential backup. If they have to trade Edman to get Lindor, you have a sizable hole at second base. DeJong could slide over there, but he’s better suited for third base, if he’s moving positions. Matt Carpenter could also be an option, but he Cardinals can’t rely on his glove or his bat at this point.
While I like the package to deal for Lindor, you are giving up quite a bit for 1 year of him. There is no guarantee that he’ll be willing to pull a Mookie Betts and sign a deal before the end of the season. In fact, I’m 99% certain that he’s going to test the free agent market no matter which team he’s on. For 1 year of Lindor, the team would be giving up 20 years of service time with this package.
Finally, a team like the Mets would try to trump any package we throw together. New owner Steve Cohen is committed to winning and doesn’t have the same financial constraints most other owners have since he didn’t own the Mets during the shortened season.
I love Lindor and would gladly add him to the team, but I’d be much more willing to pull the trigger on Nolan Arenado; he’s under contract for more than one season and the Rockies might eat some money at this point to be rid of his contract. The Cardinals would have to give up more (Nolan Gorman/Matthew Liberatore would start the package) to get him and they’d have to find someone to take at least 2 of Dexter Fowler, Carpenter, and Andrew Miller before even considering adding either one of these players.