According to reports, the Cleveland Indians are asking teams interested in Francisco Lindor to submit their final offers this weekend. Are the Milwaukee Brewers one of them?
Back in 2008, the Brewers and Indians teamed up for a blockbuster trade, involving CC Sabathia and a package of prospects that included All Star Michael Brantley. They almost combined for another blockbuster in 2016 with Jonathan Lucroy before Lucroy vetoed the deal with his no-trade clause.
Could they combine for a blockbuster this offseason? The Indians have been looking to cut payroll and are well aware that superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor will reach free agency in two years and they won’t be able to sign him to a long term deal.
The Indians already traded away ace Corey Kluber to Texas not too long ago, in what was almost a pure salary dump. Lindor will not be the same kind of trade. By trading Lindor now, they will get the best possible return for him, two years away from free agency.
Cleveland does not have to trade Lindor now, but reports say that the Indians are asking interested teams to submit their best and final offers to be mulled over this weekend, and they’ll have a decision early next week.
So, we’ll find out soon if Lindor is dealt.
There hasn’t been anything linking the Brewers to Lindor so far, but everyone around the league is interested in having Lindor for the next two years. At the very least, David Stearns put in a call to see the price.
Keep in mind, we didn’t hear about the Brewers interest in Christian Yelich until the deal was getting finalized. Perhaps they could be operating in the shadows once again.
What Will Lindor Cost?
The main issue in trying to acquire Francisco Lindor is the high price on the return package Cleveland will rightfully demand.
If any trade package from Milwaukee is going to get off the ground, it’s going to have to have Keston Hiura involved. There’s not much of a way around that. The other most valuable trade piece the Brewers could part with is Josh Hader, and Cleveland probably won’t trade their stud shortstop for a reliever as the headliner, even one as great as Hader.
Cleveland will need a stud hitter to replace Lindor, and Hiura would be that guy.
What Are The Chances The Brewers Are Involved?
Minimal. Any trade package that will require Keston Hiura in return is not one the Brewers will find appealing. As awesome as Lindor is, Hiura is more valuable to the Brewers than Lindor would be.
However, Lindor’s arbitration salary is skyrocketing these next two years. He’s projected to earn over $16 million in 2020 and that will climb over $20 million next year prior to free agency. The Brewers would not be able to sign him to a long term contract, especially with also wanting to sign Yelich to a long-term deal as well. They can’t afford both.
The Brewers paid the higher price for Yelich back in 2018 because he was under control for five seasons and his contract was fixed. They knew what he was going to cost in terms of salary. They don’t know with Lindor.
Giving up six years of control over Hiura for two years of Lindor doesn’t seem logical, especially if Hiura can continue to play at the level he did in 2019 going forward. Hiura is cheaper, and can put up just as good of stats that Lindor can.
As fun as it might be to add Lindor to Milwaukee’s infield, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
The Brewers haven’t been willing to trade Keston Hiura since they drafted him in 2017. Plenty of teams have been interested in him, but they aren’t willing to move him.