Indians Look to Move Lindor Now, Bloom Faces Tough Decision On Betts

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The Cleveland Indians are in a similar position to the Boston Red Sox.  They both have a franchise player who is expected to leave via free agency at the end of their respective deals.  The difference between the two teams, Indians Shortstop Francisco Lindor has two years remaining before free agency, and Mookie Betts is a free agent at the end of this season. 

Photo courtesy of usatoday,com
The Dodgers have been interested in both Lindor and Betts.  Both teams would entertain a trade from the prospect rich Dodgers.  However another suitor has emerged for Lindor - the Cincinnati Reds.  Last winter the Reds front office made a blockbuster deal with the Dodgers that brought Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to Cincy.  Do the Reds have what it takes to swing another blockbuster and acquire Mr. Smile from Cleveland?

Last season, the Reds and Indians swung a deal that sent SP Trevor Bauer to the Reds.  Both Cincy and Cleveland are familiar with one another.  If the Indians are going into re-build mode trading Lindor, who is two years away from free agency, would be smart.  The opportunity to get back a bigger and better package for Lindor now would be something Chaim Bloom would have loved for Betts in Boston.

The Reds are in a win-now mode, adding Bauer last season, and have a strong starting rotation with Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo and newly acquired lefty Wade Miley.  Adding Lindor would be the player to put the Reds in serious contention in an already competitive National League Central.

Shop for officially licensed MLB T-shirts from Nike, Majestic and more at Shop.MLB.comOne proposed trade package would send Lindor to the Reds and Cleveland acquiring IF/OF Nick Senzel, IF Jonathan India, SS Freddy Galvis and RHP Tony Santillan.  India is the Reds number three ranked prospect in their system and 93rd over according to MLB Pipeline.  Senzel is the coveted prospect in the deal for Cleveland and, if healthy, will be a huge get for the Indians.

From a Red Sox perspective, how does a Lindor trade impact Betts and the Red Sox?

Ultimately, the Red Sox would love to build around Betts, but that comes at a price, a very expensive price.  The feeling out of Boston is the team is unwilling to commit major dollars and Betts wants to test the market.  While the Red Sox seem more inclined to subtract from their major league rotation than deal Betts, everyone needs to come to harsh reality that Betts is going to leave and it’s time to get something back now.

The return for Betts remains the question and teams are interested in the former AL MVP.  The Padres and Dodgers have been mentioned as trade partners for Betts.  The selfishness inside me would want Dodgers prospect Gavin Lux in any Betts deal, but realistically it will likely be lesser prospects in any trade.

If a team had more control over Betts, the Reds/Lindor rumor trade would be a great comp for a return in a Betts trade.  Current rumored packages have the Red Sox acquiring OF AJ Pollack, RHP Ross Stripling, RHP Dennis Santana, RHP Jordan Sheffield and OF Jeren Kendall.  Kendall might be the Dodgers best overall athlete in the system.  Kendall has hit .233 since being drafted back in 2017 and has a strikeout rate of 32 percent in the minors.

Pollack would be a replacement in the outfield if Betts is traded.  The 32-year-old signed a 4-year $55 million dollar deal with the Dodgers last season. If he is not traded he looks to be the Dodgers starting LF or he could platoon with Alex Verdugo. Personally, I am out on Pollack, the team needs to get younger and need more cost effective players on the roster.

The Red Sox are in wait and see mode because other teams have more flexibility than the Red Sox.  The Red Sox should continue to focus on the Dodgers as a trade partner for Betts.  Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman is feeling the heat on doing something since he lost out on Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon.

Betts feels like he would be the perfect fit for the Dodgers.  With Betts leading off for the Dodgers, the team could slot Max Muncy second, Justin Turner third and NL MVP Cody Bellinger fourth.  That would make for one of the best offensive foursome in the league.

Trading or not trading Betts comes with a risk.  If the Red Sox keep Betts they risk only a compensatory pick next season.  The Dodgers risk trading significant prospects and only having one year of control with Betts. 

If the Dodgers are sick of coming up short in their quest for a World Series championship, trade Lux for Betts.  Betts is the type of player that the Dodgers are actually looking for.



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Boston Sports Syndicate: Indians Look to Move Lindor Now, Bloom Faces Tough Decision On Betts
Indians Look to Move Lindor Now, Bloom Faces Tough Decision On Betts
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