It is a surprisingly painless deal, at least for now, and continues Cohen’s blissful honeymoon with the Mets. The team signed catcher James McCann (four years, $40 million) and the right-handed reliever Trevor May (two years, $15.5 million) in December, and has now added a solid starter in Carrasco and, perhaps, the game’s premier shortstop.
Lindor, who turned 27 in November, is a slick fielder with a .285 career batting average and a power-speed combination rarely seen around Flushing. In each of the two seasons before the coronavirus pandemic, Lindor had at least 30 homers and 20 stolen bases. No Mets player has done that since Carlos Beltran and David Wright in 2007, and only three others have done it in franchise history: Mike Cameron, Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry.
Even better, Lindor plays with such flair and effervescence that his nickname is Mr. Smile, describing the default expression for both Lindor and those who watch him.
“There are many players that you watch and you appreciate; there are other players you watch and you smile,” Alderson said. “And that smile is not just a function of appreciation, but also kind of an empathetic reaction to how they play the game. I think Lindor’s the kind of player that makes one smile.”
Among 31 shortstops with at least 1,000 plate appearances over the last four seasons, Lindor ranks first in homers (111) and extra-base hits (258), and fourth in on-base plus slugging (.844). He won Gold Gloves in 2016 and 2019.
For Mets fans with long memories, a splashy trade for an All-Star Cleveland infielder does not evoke warm feelings. The team dealt for Carlos Baerga in 1996 and Roberto Alomar before the 2002 season, and both players were busts.
But Baerga was overweight, and Alomar was 34 years old. The more apt comparison is the Mookie Betts trade between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox last winter. Like the cost-cutting Cleveland franchise, the cost-cutting Red Sox shed a highly paid veteran starter (David Price) by packaging him with a four-time All-Star who was 27 years old and had one year left before free agency.