MLB Rumors: Indians’ Francisco Lindor May Be More Likely Offseason Trade Candidate Than Red Sox’s Mookie Betts
Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts and Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor
Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

Although the MLB offseason is still in its early stages, buzz for potential blockbuster trades has quickly gained some steam, and it specifically relates to Boston Red Sox All-Star Mookie Betts and Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.

In both cases, the respective player’s upcoming free agency is a driving force behind possibly being moved this winter. Although, Betts is set to hit the open market after next season, whereas Lindor is not due to become a free agent until the winter of 2021.

The Red Sox have already expressed a desire to get below the luxury tax threshold, which on the surface became more of a difficult proposition with J.D. Martinez opting into his contract. In some sense it made a Betts trade more necessary, but Boston could look to deal from their pitching staff.

However it ultimately shakes out, Jon Heyman indicated on the “Big Time Baseball” podcast that a Lindor trade would come first:

“Lindor, I think that they’ll shop him. They’ll have to consider that pretty seriously. With two years to go, a superstar, it’s impossible to see the Indians be able to come up with $300 million to sign Francisco Lindor. I think there’s a good chance Lindor would be traded. I would say Betts, to me, I think it would be not a good chance that he’s traded. We’re going to hear about it, but I still see him in Boston for this (upcoming) year.”

The belief Lindor getting dealt would come before Betts is somewhat of a surprise considering he remains under team control for two more years. Though, trading the talented shortstop at this juncture presumably would increase the Indians’ return.

Furthermore, the Los Angeles Dodgers have already been publicly identified as having interest in pursuing a trade with Cleveland.

That would seemingly make Corey Seager expendable, but like Lindor he too is due to become a free agent after the 2021 season, and wouldn’t necessarily be destined for the Indians in a trade.

The Dodgers have not been connected to Betts, but certainly have the prospects to assemble a trade with the Red Sox and would be in position to sign the 27-year-old to a long-term contract after next season. Of course, they may just as well wish to avoid the eventual bidding war altogether.

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