Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Cleveland has traded away a beloved All-Star in an effort to pinch pennies.
The past several times(!!!) this happened, Cleveland has been able to hang around, re-tool, and make the playoffs anyway. However, I don’t anticipate this being the case this time around.
Cleveland’s return for the latest trade included an average to below-average young veteran shortstop (Amed Rosario), a second-year starting-caliber shortstop with limited upside (Andres Gimenez), a starting pitcher prospect, and an outfield prospect. Neither prospect was ranked in the top ten of the Mets system.
And what did this measly return cost them?
*Extremely Thanos voice*: “Everything”
The Spiders may have finally sold their soul- not figuratively, but literally, with the sending away of franchise heart & soul Francisco Lindor, as well as beloved cancer survivor/all-star-caliber starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Lindor is the type of player that only comes around once in a generation- a superstar in the field and at the plate, as well as a beloved, marketable face off of the field. Carrasco had spent his entire big-league career with Cleveland, including a bout with leukemia that saw the city and team rally around him. Owner Paul Dolan has officially accomplished his goal of tearing the team down to its studs in the name of a lower payroll.
After the trade, Cleveland is left with the lowest payroll in baseball. They do still have one elite starter (Shane Bieber), one elite position player (Jose Ramirez), and one elite reliever (James Karinchak), as well as 2-3 more above average starters. However, Cleveland’s lineup was below average last year, and they’re going to be even worse this year. With their pitching, they’re going to be a nuisance team- tough to beat, but not real contenders. I do believe the AL Central has just become a two-team race, with Cleveland and Kansas City fighting for the third place (and non-playoff) scraps.
All in all, the Spiders may not be a doormat for the Twins this year, but their days of contending for AL Central titles is over (for now). The ownership has finally maimed their team’s competitiveness in the name of a lower payroll.
And you thought the Pohlads were bad.