Phillies among ‘strong candidates’ to land Francisco Lindor

Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Francisco Lindor #12 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

The Phillies are reportedly in the running to acquire Indians SS Francisco Lindor

This past season, Didi Gregorius performed as one of the better offense-producing shortstops in recent Philadelphia Phillies history, slugging 22 extra-base hits while playing all 60 games.

Now, the nine-year veteran is among a crowded free-agent shortstop class that also includes Marcus Semien and Andrelton Simmons. There are three paths the Phillies could now go down: either choose to sign any of these three; roll the dice with a 2021 starting infield combination of Alec Bohm, Jean Segura, Scott Kingery, and Rhys Hoskins; or, pull off a blockbuster trade.

The possibility of the third option has become more increasingly likely, as according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Phillies are among the “strongest candidates” to acquire All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians.

Morosi reports that the Indians are likely to trade the four-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove Award winner, and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, “although no deal appears close at this early stage of the offseason.” In return for the soon-to-be 27-year-old, the Indians are reportedly seeking three players who are either currently in the majors or are close to their big-league debut.

The Phillies recently decided not to offer Gregorius a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer. Lindor, meanwhile, is set to earn about $20 million in 2021, meaning he would be slightly more expensive. But, his statistics show that he would be worth the cost. So far through six seasons in the majors, Lindor has slashed .285/.346/.488 with 191 doubles, 15 triples, 138 home runs, and 411 RBI; he has also finished in the top-15 of the Most Valuable Player Award year after year.

Just like Gregorius did, Lindor played all 60 games this past season, and has played no fewer than 143 games each of his four previous seasons.

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Morosi says that given the Indians have not been able to sign Lindor to a long-term extension, and given the current financial uncertainty in Major League Baseball amid the COVID-19 crisis, a trade this offseason involving Lindor is now “increasingly inevitable.”

Other teams strongly in the running with the Phillies to acquire Lindor include their division-rival New York Mets, as well as the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and St. Louis Cardinals. “Some of those teams aren’t prepared — yet — to engage in serious trade talks with the Indians,” Morosi reports.

The Phillies acquiring Lindor would be nearly as much of a franchise-altering move as their signing of Bryce Harper just before the 2019 season.

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