Texas Rangers: Lindor trade to Mets clears path for next offseason

Seth Carlson
Sep 9, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) throws to first base in the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 9, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) throws to first base in the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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There’s now one less team getting in the way of the Texas Rangers’ pursuit of a big name shortstop next off-season.

Being the most active team in baseball was certainly fun while it lasted, Texas Rangers fans.

After Texas’ flurry of Winter Meetings transactions in December, it appears as though the San Diego Padres and now more recently, the New York Mets, have earned that “most active” moniker.

With the seismic Thursday news of New York’s National League squad acquiring shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-hander Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for big leaguers Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, along with two other prospects, baseball’s landscape continues to shift ahead of the 2021 season.

For the Indians, the trade looks like a payroll dump, akin to that of what the Chicago Cubs executed with the San Diego Padres for former Texas Ranger Yu Darvish.

For the Mets, this deal represents one of the true “going all in” splashes of the off-season, of which we’ve had very few to this point.

For the Texas Rangers? Well they’re also indirect beneficiaries of this swap.

The Texas Rangers are now in better position to chase a big name shortstop next offseason as a result of this trade.

The New York Mets have Steve Cohen as their owner, and seeing as he’s baseball’s wealthiest owner by a wide margin, this takes a major competitor out of the running when it comes to next year’s star-studded free agent market.

Among the shortstop names expected to hit free agency include Francisco Lindor (for now), Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story and Corey Seager.

While the Texas Rangers aren’t expected to contend in 2021, they are setting their sights on contention by 2023, meaning next off-season’s free agent class will be a critical one for Jon Daniels and new GM Chris Young to strike appropriately.

The team currently has Isiah Kiner-Falefa as its starting shortstop in 2021, which makes sense given his Gold Glove-caliber defense at the position and his improving bat.

Not to mention, he’s just flat out a better option right now than Elvis Andrus there.

However, it remains to be seen if IKF can hang on at the position long-term.

At the moment, though, any of the aforementioned names expected to test the waters after this season would represent a noticeable upgrade over Kiner-Falefa, something the Texas Rangers need to keep in mind.

With the Mets likely to sign Francisco Lindor to a long-term extension, that maneuver will effectively remove them from next off-season’s shortstop scramble.

That, in and of itself, is a huge win for the Texas Rangers, who will need to put their best foot forward and show players the money if they’re to attract elite free agent talents in the future.

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