Yankees: Yu Darvish trade proves Francisco Lindor deal could be cheaper

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians laughs as he walks over to Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees after Judge celebrated hitting an rbi double by mimicking Brett Gardner, who was ejected yesterday after pounding a bat on the dugout ceiling, as umpire Todd Tichenor #13 looks away in an MLB baseball game against on August 18, 2019 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Cleveland won 8-4. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians laughs as he walks over to Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees after Judge celebrated hitting an rbi double by mimicking Brett Gardner, who was ejected yesterday after pounding a bat on the dugout ceiling, as umpire Todd Tichenor #13 looks away in an MLB baseball game against on August 18, 2019 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Cleveland won 8-4. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /
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After the Yu Darvish trade, it’s possible Francisco Lindor wouldn’t cost too much for the Yankees.

Here’s an unfortunate newsflash for Yankees fans: Based on the way the 2020 offseason’s materialized so far, they’re no longer allowed to believe Brian Cashman and the front office if they claim a particular trade cost was prohibitive.

As the Yu Darvish trade this week taught us, there’s not a single star on one of baseball’s cost-cutting teams who will cost an unpalatable amount to acquire in this particular offseason.

And yes, that quite likely includes

Francisco Lindor

of the Cleveland Indians.

Though a massive contract extension is implied for whichever team acquires Lindor, it isn’t assured. And so, with just one year of control attached to the shortstop, it seems very clear that, in this economic climate, the Indians held onto their one impressive asset for at least a year too long.

And if he’s going to be exceptionally cheap, perhaps the Yankees should reevaluate things, if only for one year?

With the Dodgers hard-charging for DJ LeMahieu (supposedly), you still get the feeling that either the Yankees continue to control their second baseman entering 2021 or, if Los Angeles overwhelms them with a crazy offer, they’d be, well, a little relieved to move onto Lindor, or perhaps another shortstop in the class of 2021-22.

A Darvish trade isn’t necessarily a perfect match for a Lindor package, but they’re by far the two best players who will likely be exchanged this offseason. And Darvish, complete with three semi-expensive years of control, didn’t merit a single top-100 prospect. Instead, he was obtained for middling starter Zach Davies and most of the meaty middle of the Padres’ farm system, all projectable teenagers.

If the Indians still think they’d be able to obtain multiple top-100 prospects (or even a single one), they’re sorely mistaken. But guess what? At this point, the Tribe gets it, too. The mistake has already been made. And they won’t compound it by sitting on their hands over the depressing next few months.

A year ago, all those who projected a Lindor-Yankees trade assumed a Mookie Betts-like haul for the final seasons of his arbitration. At one point, we legitimately entertained “Aaron Judge for Francisco Lindor” chatter! What?!

Now that it’ll likely only cost a fringe-top-100 guy like Oswald Peraza or Luis Gil fronting the prospect package, does that change the Yankees’ calculus? Would they surrender LeMahieu to the Dodgers to give Lindor a one-year audition at a low prospect cost before entertaining re-signing him?

The narrative has definitely shifted.