The Yankees and Indians are going to be linked in trade rumors all offseason long, so why not pitch some simple deals that should work?
It feels important to say this up top: The Yankees probably will not trade for Francisco Lindor, but the price of his services isn’t going to be as expensive as you’re probably thinking.
Entering the final year before his contract expires and the Indians get (Willy Wonka voice) “NOTHING, sir!” in exchange for his services, the team will likely be entertaining trade offers that come in below the Mookie Betts package, especially considering our current financial climate. That’s not good for them! The Betts return was underwhelming and was predicated on the condition that someone else would take David Price’s salary. None of that is going to come up in the Lindor talks, and the final result is definitely going to disappoint Clevelanders.
So we thought we’d take another shot at assessing several ways the Yankees could still get involved here. Per reports, the Red Sox will not be chasing Lindor and will be instead prioritizing pitching — yet another reason why we should probably get our finest legal minds on this.
If these three packages seem a little less terrifying than you might’ve predicted last year (remember Judge-for-Lindor?!), that’s by design. But per The Athletic’s recent “yes or no” article, featuring the notion that David Fletcher of the Angels would be too high a price to pay, these suggestions feel right in line with the current narrative.
3. Lindor for Miguel Andújar and Anthony Volpe
Lindor could fetch a fringe major leaguer and a middle infield prospect — this is the Yankees’ version of that deal.
There’s one prototypical Lindor trade we keep seeing floated: A top middle infield prospect in an effort to eventually replace the All-Star, as well as an MLB player who’s been wedged out of his former home. Andújar’s violent bat certainly fulfills the latter role — in fact, Yankees fans would probably be thrilled by this deal, knowing he ended up in a real trade instead of a problematic dump.
Volpe has proven very little thus far in his professional career after being selected at the tail end of the first round in 2019, and not by design — the 2020 season being canceled hasn’t helped him one bit! As of now, we consider him to be a glove-first option with a developing contact bat, and he’d be a solid wild card for Cleveland to choose, ranking in MLB Pipeline’s Yankees Top 10.
Andújar was exiled to the Alternate Site midway through 2020, angering his agent and (likely) the player, too. Unfortunately for him, though, he went from a bat-first, glove-absolutely-last third baseman in 2018 who was still learning the ropes to an afterthought after his shoulder injury led Gio Urshela to usurp him. There’s still magic in that bat, though, and Andújar flirting with the outfield in 2020 could also be appealing for Cleveland; that’s been an offensive trouble spot for years there.
Andújar has always felt like a nice roll of the dice for Cleveland, and as Lindor’s price continues to drop, this is becoming more realistic.