It’s hard to imagine the Blue Jays paying big for just one year of contract control on Francisco Lindor, but rumoured mutual interest could change things.
The rumour mill is slowly but surely starting to move around baseball, even if it’s likely to be a slow start to the offseason.
The other day I talked about why it could be a while before some of the bigger names are snapped up from the market, but that won’t stop the early speculation, even if it takes a while. To that end, there are already plenty of rumours linking the Blue Jays to Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor, who is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world. It’s a fine idea to pursue a premier talent like that, but the problem is that Lindor has just one year left on his current deal before he’ll be a free agent, and paying a premium for a rental can be a risky proposition.
However, what if Lindor could be talked into making things interesting?
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According to Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto (hat tip to @billsmafia10 for making me aware of it), there are reports that Lindor is interested in what he’s seeing with Canada’s only team, and that could change the dynamic of trade negotiations.
It’ll probably be very difficult to sign the 4x All-star to a long-term deal without his having the chance to experience the organization first, but if Pluto’s report is correct that he’s interested, that could make the Blue Jays’ front office act a little more boldly. They’ve traded for players who didn’t want to come north of the border in the past (Troy Tulowitzki and Mark Buehrle to name a couple), and banked on their ability to change their minds. That said, Buehrlo and Tulo were both under contract beyond the year they were acquired, which gave the Jays some time to convince them.
The Blue Jays do have quite a bit going for them if they want to gamble on being able to convince Lindor to stay beyond 2021. They have a very exciting young core that includes Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Nate Pearson, and more, and should have plenty of payroll space to meet Lindor’s contract demands. There’s also a strong Latin American group on the team, including fellow Puerto Rican Charlie Montoyo, and a close-knit clubhouse in general.
It likely doesn’t hurt that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins were working in Cleveland at the time that Lindor was drafted in 2011, so both parties are familiar with each other. There’s almost no doubt that the Blue Jays’ front office has been lusting after their former star as he’s blossomed at the highest level, and he’d look great in a Jays uniform, even if it likely means that Bichette would have to play another position.
We’ll see how many flames are hiding behind the smoke, but according to Pluto’s report, there’s at least some mutual interest. We’ll see if it amounts to anything, but it’s sure exciting to think about.