As the San Diego Padres head into Spring Training games, the team is reportedly showing interest in Francisco Lindor as another big bat in the lineup.
This news was lumped in with the reports that the San Diego Padres were linked to Nick Senzel as part of a potential Wil Myers trade, but I wanted to dedicate a separate piece to it. But Dennis Lin, of The Athletic ($), reported that the team is also interested in Francisco Lindor, and he would make their lineup more formidable:
"“Still, the Padres have not given up hope of finding a significant upgrade in the near future. According to sources, they remain interested in Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, the rare player who might justify introducing Fernando Tatis Jr. to center field, though the likelihood of such a deal remains unclear. And they have not given up hope of relocating Myers and a large chunk of their $61 million obligation.”"
Lindor had been previously linked to the Los Angeles Dodgers before they ultimately acquired Mookie Betts, and it would seem that he (Lindor) is still available as the Indians are going through somewhat of a transition. At 26 years of age, Lindor has been one of the best shortstops in the game posting a .288/.347/.493 line with 130 home runs and 384 RBI in five Major League seasons.
His ability to hit for extra bases while displaying both tremendous power and speed on the basepaths are unique traits for a guy that is 5-foot-11, 190 pounds. There is a considerable amount of risk in trading for Lindor, as he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021 season and would likely require a significant haul of prospects and/or talent from the big league roster.
General Manager AJ Preller would have to feel comfortable enough with his current roster that a Lindor acquisition could potentially put them over the top to compete with the Dodgers for the division. The Padres have one of the best farm systems in baseball, but if Lindor walks after the 2021 season with nothing to show for it, you would have to question if it was the right move. Especially, if your farm is left in shambles.
There is also the concern that acquiring Lindor would relocate Fernando Tatis Jr. to centerfield, which has been discussed internally. Lindor’s defense is not top-notch at shortstop either, committing an average of 11 errors per year, but one could make a strong argument that a permanent move to second base could potentially work as well.
Tatis has never played in the outfield in the minors or the big leagues, so he would essentially be learning on the fly. There is some level of risk in acquiring Lindor, but the benefits could also be extraordinary.