Cincinnati Reds: Time to stop dreaming about trading for Francisco Lindor

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 07: Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians flips hit helmet after the end of the eighth inning. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 07: Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians flips hit helmet after the end of the eighth inning. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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It’s time for Reds fans to abandon the pipe dream of landing Francisco Lindor.

Okay Reds fans, it’s time to give up on the idea of brining Francisco Lindor to Cincinnati. The rumors were swirling last winter that the Cleveland Indians shortstop would available, but the Cincinnati Reds never made a move. It’s time to abandon the idea of trading for Lindor.

Now, am I saying that trading for Lindor would be a disastrous move by the Reds front office? Absolutely not. Given the small window for success that Cincinnati appears to have, filling the void at shortstop with a four-time All-Star like Lindor would certainly boost the Reds chances of contending in 2021. There just doesn’t seem to be a clear path to Nick Krall making the trade.

Let’s first approach it from the financial standpoint. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Lindor can expect to make between $17.5M-$21.5M in his final year of arbitration eligibility. That’s a big chunk of change for a player who’s likely to spend just one year in the Queen City.

The reality of the situation is that Francisco Lindor may be the best free agent on the market next winter. Yes, Corey Seager and Carlos Correa are also slated to become free agents, but Lindor is s Top 5 Major League Baseball talent. Lindor will be looking to sign a long-term deal similar to what Mookie Betts signed (12-year/$365M) last offseason.

Face it Reds fans; Cincinnati is a small market baseball team. Even though the Reds spent big last offseason, the team still ranked below average (18th) in terms of payroll according to Spotrac. Making adjustments for the pandemic-shortened season, Cincinnati’s payroll was approximately $55.6M. That’s below the likes of the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals.

Heading into this offseason, Cincinnati will be adding additional money to the payroll with the likely raises given to pitchers Luis Castillo, Amir Garrett, and Tyler Mahle, and outfielder Jesse Winker. Nick Castellanos will also remain with the Reds next season, deciding not to exercise his option to enter free agency this winter.

But let’s say that Cincinnati’s front office finds a way to finagle their finances and has the money available to afford Lindor’s salary next season. There’s still the matter of what it would cost in terms of the trade itself. I don’t think the Reds have enough talent in their minor leagues to entice the Indians to play ball.

Sure, Cincinnati has the likes of Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene, but I find it highly unlikely that the Reds would give up on their two prospects, both of whom who could be longterm options in the starting rotation. There’s shortstop prospect José García, but he’s the future of the position moving forward.

Forget adding Tyler Stephenson to the list of potential trade pieces. The Cincinnati Reds know that they have in Stephenson; an offensive-minded catcher. That’s something this franchise hasn’t had in some time. Jonathan India should be available, but if the Indians wanted him, I think this deal would’ve made last winter.

Nick Senzel has been a name floated about as a possible trade piece for the past few years, but his inability to stay on the field should make any potential suitor think twice before requesting the former No. 2 overall pick as part of a trade package.

Face it Reds fans, the Cincinnati farm system has been pillaged over the last few years and there’s not enough depth to pull from in order to lure Francisco Lindor away from the Cleveland Indians. The Reds have traded away Jeter Downs, Josiah Gray, Shed Long, Taylor Trammell, Packy Naughton, and Stuart Fairchild over the past two years and the farm system has suffered because of it.

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It’s time Reds Country, time to give up on the idea of adding Francisco Lindor to the Cincinnati Reds roster in 2021. It’s a nice idea and certainly one that I can get behind, but it’s a pipe dream. I fully expect Nick Krall and the Cincinnati front office to address the shortstop position this offseason, but it’s just not realistic.