BEREA, Ohio — Has shortstop Francisco Lindor played his last game as a member of the Cleveland Indians?
Well, the Los Angeles Dodgers hope to answer that question with a resounding “yes” after the offseason begins following the completion of the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals later this week.
According to MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, Dodgers executive Andrew Friedman is “expected to pursue a trade” for Lindor, which would break from his strategy of using mid-season rentals to supplement free-agent signings and homegrown talent.
“The Dodgers’ 2020 planning remains in the early stages, but the team is said to be more open-minded to a shakeup than in recent offseasons,” Morosi wrote. “Lindor, coming off a fourth consecutive All-Star selection, would bring star power, on-field energy and consistent production at shortstop.”
By all accounts, Lindor had another great season in 2019, as he belted 32 home runs, 40 doubles and two triples with 74 runs batted in and 101 runs scored despite missing the first 19 games while working through calf and ankle injuries suffered in a preseason individual workout and spring training, respectively.
The 25-year old Lindor hit .284 with a split of .335/.518/.854 on-base, slugging and on-base-plus-slugging percentages.
Defensively, Lindor appeared in 137 games, all starts, at shortstop. Over 1,196.1 innings of work, Lindor registered 159 put-outs and 312 assists against 10 errors in 481 total chances. In addition to the .979 fielding percentage, Lindor combined to turn 68 double plays.
In 2018, Lindor led the Indians with 183 hits and 42 doubles, was tied for third in triples, third in runs batted in and second with 38 home runs. Lindor set a club record for lead-off home runs, as he started nine games with round-trippers in 2018.
Through 717 games over his first four-plus years with the Indians, Lindor collected 835 hits, including 178 doubles, 15 triples and 130 home runs, with 384 runs batted in, 478 runs scored and 260 walks drawn against 455 strikeouts.
Additionally, Lindor stole 93 bases in 118 attempts.
A four-time American League All-Star infielder and four-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalist, Lindor has a .288 career batting average with .347 on-base, .493 slugging and .840 on-base-plus-slugging percentages.
Currently, Lindor is in his second year of arbitration, and he is expected to see a substantial increase in pay, whether his camp and the Indians agree on a deal before the hearing or if the superstar shortstop elects to go before an arbitrator.
Lindor made $10.55 million in 2019.
Should the Dodgers make a trade for Lindor, Morosi believes infielder Gavin Lux or right-handed pitcher Dustin May could come in return to the Indians. Also, catcher Keibert Ruiz, the Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, “could be “a centerpiece in any deal.”
“In that case, the Dodgers are a natural suitor,” Morosi wrote. “Lindor, a switch-hitter, would help the Dodgers achieve coveted platoon advantages, and the Dodgers’ farm system -- viewed as one of the best in baseball -- should give Friedman the prospect capital to put together a compelling offer.
“Lindor, one of the game’s most charismatic personalities, surely would embrace the chance to play in Los Angeles, and his omnipresent ebullience could help the Dodgers move beyond their latest postseason disappointment.”
Despite a 106-win showing in the regular season, the Dodgers bowed out of the postseason with a loss in the National League Division Series. In 2017 and 2018, the Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox in the World Series.