How about a middle infield of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Francisco Lindor? The San Diego Padres could be a landing spot for the Indians’ superstar.
When I look at the San Diego Padres roster, I see several weak links that could potentially limit them from reaching their ultimate goals. And while improving upon a 70-92 record from a year ago doesn’t seem like a monumental task, this club has the chance to be very good.
The Padres came up just short in the Mookie Betts sweepstakes – landing with the division-rival Dodgers – and now the gap between first and second place seems significant. So, might they turn their attention to another superstar?
As of Monday, the discussions for a contract extension between Francisco Lindor and the Cleveland Indians broke down, so it’s expected that he’ll play the entire season without a new deal. He’s under contract through next season as well, but there is a sense that the Indians could trade him at the deadline should their record reflect poorly.
CBS Sports published an article with the Padres being one of four potential landing spots for Lindor’s services:
"“The Padres are always on these lists for the same basic reasons: they have a loaded farm system and a general manager, in A.J. Preller, who is prone to making blockbuster deals. There’s a sense within the industry that Preller needs to win, and win soon, in order to maintain his job security. That’s the kind of combination that could get a Lindor deal done.”"
The acquisition of Lindor would come with a two-prong question:
- What to do with Fernando Tatis Jr.?
- And would the Padres be able to lock Lindor down to an extension?
Regarding the first question, Tatis has been linked to several rumors about potentially relocating to center field to accommodate other players. However, it’s not as simple as moving him into center – a position that he’s never played – and calling it a day. Yes, he committed 18 errors at shortstop last season, but there is also a glaring hole at second base right now.
A strong argument can be made that a transition to second base would be much smoother for either Tatis or Lindor; however, the latter’s track record is much better in the field, taking home two Gold Glove Awards in 2016 and 2019.
As for the second question, there is a level of risk in acquiring Lindor as he seems hell-bent on being “wooed” in free agency. I get it. Those moments don’t happen very often. But you’d also hope there would be some level of mutual interest in him wanting to stick around, especially given the haul it would take to land him.
But if Lindor puts the Padres over the top within the next year and a half – assuming he’s acquired at the deadline – and they win the World Series, I think it’s a bit easier to let him walk in free agency.
I think there’s a way that the Padres could pull this deal off without giving up their top pitching prospects in MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino. However, the Indians would likely want CJ Abrams to be groomed as Lindor’s replacement and a pitcher that doesn’t have a spot on the big league roster in Cal Quantrill.
Baseball Trade Values gives a slight advantage to the Indians in this trade (68.70 to 63.60), but realistically, I think they would ask for another player given Lindor’s status. It doesn’t seem impossible by any means, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Preller made this move at the deadline if the Padres are competitive.
What do you think?