11:54pm: Jeff McNeil, the Mets’ terrific infielder/outfielder, is someone the Indians “repeatedly” asked about during the teams’ Lindor talks, Tim Healey of Newsday reports. Unsurprisingly, though, the Mets weren’t willing to deal McNeil.
10:16pm: It might not be long before we see the Indians part with their franchise player, shortstop Francisco Lindor. The Indians have informed clubs that have pursued Lindor that they want their “best and final offers so they can make an assessment over the weekend,” Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes (subscription link).
The Indians don’t have to give up the 26-year-old Lindor, who has two seasons’ control left, but his value’s surely sky-high right now. Plus, having traded right-hander and fellow franchise icon Corey Kluber to Texas last week, the small-market Indians could be moving toward a rebuild. The Indians’ roster still looks better than average even without Kluber, but considering they’re unlikely to extend Lindor before he’s slated to reach free agency in a couple years, management may decide to take the best possible offer now at the expense of their near-term chances.
So far this offseason, the Dodgers, Padres and Reds have been prominently connected to Lindor in the rumor mill. The Mets also showed interest in him, but they’ve drifted into the background because of Cleveland’s exorbitant asking price for Lindor, Rosenthal reports. Even though Lindor’s team control is fading and he’ll make a projected $16.7MM in 2020, it’s understandable the Indians are demanding a significant return for him. After all, he’s a four-time All-Star, one of the faces of baseball and someone who has slashed .288/.347/.493 with 130 home runs, 93 stolen bases and 27.2 fWAR since his career began in 2015.