Due to the uncertainty of if and when the 2020 baseball season will begin, the Cincinnati Reds avoided what could have been a franchise crippling deal for shortstop Francisco Lindor.
All winter long, Reds Country was clamoring for any information they could find regarding a potential trade with the Indians revolving around Cleveland’s All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor. Rumors swirled throughout the hot stove season that the Indians would entertain deals for Lindor and many pundits had pegged the Reds as one of the most serious suitors for his services.
There’s an old adage in baseball that says sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make. Nowhere is that more evident than the deal that didn’t happen between the Reds and Indians. With the coronavirus altering every facet of American society, a trade for Lindor would have left the Reds void of any young cost-controlled assets for what would have amounted to a season and a half of Lindor, at best.
Obviously, the Cincinnati Reds front office team of Dick Williams and Nick Krall could have never anticipated the unprecedented uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season. What they could have anticipated was the haul the Indians would be looking for in acquiring Lindor. Suffice to say, the Reds would have paid a steep price.
Nick Senzel, Tyler Mahle and Nick Lodolo would have probably been just the cover charge to enter discussions with the Indians. Think about that for a minute. The Reds, at minimum, would have had to trade away 15 years of club controlled contracts for, at the time, two years of Francisco Lindor.
This is not to say in a perfect world the Reds wouldn’t make this deal. Lindor is arguably the best shortstop in the game and given the trajectory of his career, a stop in Cooperstown following his playing days is well within reason.
Imagine a lineup of Lindor, Eugenio Suárez, Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos, Joey Votto and Shogo Akiyama. When you surround those names with a pitching staff featuring Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer and Wade Miley, there’s no way the Reds could not have been considered favorites to capture their first National League Central title since the 2012 season.
The prospect of being able to keep that lineup together for potentially more than a single season might have been worth the gamble. Two years with a legitimate chance to capture a World Series title doesn’t come along often for the Reds, so I can see the appeal from the front office.
However, we fast forward to mid-April and there are still no signs of when and where the 2020 season will begin. As great as Francisco Lindor is, the idea of trading the likes Senzel, Mahle and Lodolo for little more than a year of the shortstop’s services would have taken the Reds organization a decade to recover.