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Francisco Lindor is surely going to be traded this offseason, but could the Minnesota Twins actually get him from a chief division rival?
One of the worst kept secrets this MLB offseason is the Cleveland Indians ultimately trading shortstop Francisco Lindor as he heads into the final year of his contract. Owner Paul Dolan prepared fans for inevitability Lindor would be gone, and the list of teams who can make a case for a trade pursuit is long (realistic or not).
But in his latest piece, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) offered an interesting suitor for Lindor (or Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, who is also headed for free agency after next season).
The Minnesota Twins.
Could the Twins really make a deal for Francisco Lindor?
At first glance, the Twins don’t have a hole at shortstop. Jorge Polanco is signed through 2023, and he had an All-Star season in 2019 (.295, 40 doubles, 22 HR, 79 RBI). A right ankle issue has required surgery in back-to-back offseasons, and there’s a path to him shifting into a utility role or making a pure position switch if the Twins entertained a move for a shortstop.
Rosenthal offered a way the Twins could make a good deal for Lindor, with specific mention of Luis Arraez.
“The likelihood of all that occurring is not terribly high, but the idea is not without merit. Start with Arraez, 23, who could bring a significant return. His career OPS is .819 in 487 plate appearances. He had above-average defensive metrics last season, albeit in a small sample. And he is under club control or five more seasons.”
Arraez offers some position utility — second base, shortstop and outfield. With a .331 batting average, a .429 slugging percentage, 40 strikeouts and 44 walks over the start of his time in the big leagues, he’s a free-swinging, bat-to-ball guy at the plate.
As Rosenthal also laid out, trading Arraez would open up the idea of a move to second base for Polanco.
Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey had moved out of the Indians’ scouting department by the time Lindor was drafted eighth overall in 2011. But he worked in the organization through the 2016 season, and that familiarity surely lingers.
The Indians seem sure to prioritize getting cost-controlled major league talent in a deal for Lindor. The Twins are also sure to draw a line at their top prospects in most any trade (Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff), but an offer pairing Arraez (or Polanco?) with Trevor Larnach or Jordan Balazovic (or both) might get Cleveland’s attention.