When it became official that the Mets had completed a blockbuster trade for All Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, someone tweeted that this was the “greatest trade in Mets history.” Not quite, as some others pointed out, but you can make the claim that this deal is Sandy Alderson’s “Keith Hernandez.”
The acquisition of Keith Hernandez in 1983 was Frank Cashen’s most impactful move during his 14-year tenure as the Mets GM.
The Mets were a floundering ball club in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Cashen made Darryl Strawberry the #1 overall pick in the 1980 draft. Strawberry provided a jolt of excitement when he was called up in May to make his major league debut. Six weeks later, Cashen put another jolt into the club when he acquired Hernandez on June 15th, which was the trade deadline that year. When the Mets won the 1986 World Series, that stamped the Hernandez deal as among the best in team history.
Acquiring Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco for shortstops Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez and two minor leaguers, could eventually join that list, but, for Alderson, it could turn out to be a his most significant move as the Mets Team President/GM. (We can’t forget that GM Jared Porter deserves credit as well, but it’s Sandy who led the way in engineering this deal)
Alderson said they have been in on Lindor shortly after the Mets’ season ended. “This deal has been in the works for a long time,” Alderson said on a Zoom call to announce the trade. “We’ve been talking since way before the break. Really since close to the beginning of the off season.”
Lindor is a free agent after the 2021 season, but the Mets did not go into this without feeling confident they could sign the 27-year old. “We acquired Francisco because of his present ability and the possibility he could be a Met long term,” Alderson said.
Porter may have struck gold in his first big trade as “Adding a dynamic, well rounded player like Francisco Lindor helps as a defender, as a hitter, as a base runner,” Porter said. “It really helps us and makes his teammates better.”
Carrasco slides in as a #2 or #3 starter in a rotation that all of a sudden, is not looking too bad. Two things to ponder when considering how to improve the rotation. One, the Mets are hoping to get Noah Syndergaard back from Tommy John by mid-May or June. That would be like a trade, and two is a trade itself. With the new owner, Steve Cohen on board, come this year’s trade deadline, the Mets have the resources to be buyers.
From my sources, the Indians were getting frustrated with the offers they were receiving from some of the interested clubs. Cleveland wanted a major league ready shortstop and a major league ready outfielder, as part of a package. (The Indians reportedly asked the Yankees for Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier in any deal for Lindor. They were not that interested in Luke Voit as was previously reported) The outfielders they wanted weren’t being offered so they went back to the Mets and settled for Rosario and Gimenez, figuring, with Lindor’s money off the books, they could use that extra revenue to sign a free agent outfielder like Eddie Rosario or Joc Pederson.
Indians President Chris Antonetti sounds like he plans to start both Rosario and Gimenez. “We’ll bring back two players that can contribute to our major league team, immediately,” he said.
Sandy’s played this card before, bringing in a player that they would have to re-sign after the season. When Alderson acquired Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline in 2015, he knew that Cespedes was a free agent after the season and he would be under pressure to re-sign him.
Alderson is playing the same card here and is hoping to cash in his chips.
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