A new entrant has emerged as a potential suitor for Francisco Lindor.
The Reds have been engaged with the Indians in talks about the superstar shortstop, according to a source, thrusting Cincinnati into a mix that reportedly includes the Dodgers and Padres, among other clubs. The clubs have not confirmed the talks.
It’s unclear whether the talks have gained any traction, though the fact that the Reds are showing interest is yet another sign that the club is serious about contending in a wide-open National League Central.
Cincinnati has been aggressive on the trade front during the past year, acquiring Yasiel Puig and Trevor Bauer in a pair of notable deals. The Reds have already made one big move this winter, signing Mike Moustakas to a four-year, $64 million deal to play second base. Wade Miley was signed on Wednesday to fill out the rotation, but a big bat remains on the Reds’ offseason shopping list. Lindor would certainly fit that category.
Reds general manager Nick Krall, speaking Wednesday as the club introduced Miley, was asked about the pursuit of a bat.
“Whether it’s the trade market or the free-agent market, we’ll do whatever we can to keep improving this club,” Krall said.
“You’ve got to have teams that are willing to trade players. I think it’s up to those teams. We’ve had talks in the trade market, and we’ve also had them in the free-agent market.”
Krall also said that even after signing Moustakas and Miley for a combined $79 million, the Reds have enough payroll flexibility to make more moves.
The Reds have a number of appealing young players who could be included in a trade package (Nick Senzel, Jonathan India, Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo), and they have a recent history of dealing with Cleveland, having completed the three-way deal last July that landed Bauer in Cincinnati.
Cleveland traded Corey Kluber to Texas last week, clearing about $17 million from the 2020 payroll. Cots’ Baseball Contracts estimates that Lindor will earn $17 million next season, his second of three arbitration-eligible years. He’s under club control through 2021, after which he’s expected to command a mammoth deal that could easily surpass the $300 million mark.
To move their franchise player, the Indians will surely need to be overwhelmed by an offer for Lindor. Whether the Reds are prepared to make such an offer remains to be seen.