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Francisco Lindor Trade Rumors: Reds Have Engaged Indians in Talks over Star

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2019

Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor during a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds have reportedly held trade talks focused on shortstop Francisco Lindor, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand

Feinsand added that while it is unclear how serious the discussions have gotten, the Reds do have some high-level prospects to offer in a potential deal, including 2016 No. 2 overall draft pick Nick Senzel and 2018 No. 5 overall pick Jonathan India.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network later noted the Indians "are said to like" Senzel "very much," but added he hadn't heard a lot between the two sides regarding a deal for Lindor.

Despite being a four-time All-Star in five MLB seasons, Lindor has been the subject of trade rumors since last season since he is due for a massive contract extension in the next couple of years.

Cleveland Indians @Indians

It's so disrespectful that Francisco Lindor isn't starting the All-Star Game. #RallyTogether https://t.co/jnZhL5olWt

While Lindor is under team control through 2021, he will likely land one of the biggest contracts in baseball when the time comes to extend him, and it is unclear if the Indians are able or willing to give that to him.

Cleveland dealt starting pitcher Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers last week, so perhaps that gave the Indians the type of salary relief they need to at least hold on to Lindor for a bit longer.

If the Indians do decide to trade Lindor, however, the Reds look like a great fit on paper for a trade partner given the young talent they possess.

Also, the Indians and Reds have some recent history on the trade front. Cleveland dealt starting pitcher Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati last season as part of a three-team trade that also included the San Diego Padres.

In addition to Senzel or India, the Reds can offer a pair of big-time pitching prospects in Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, although it is unclear how willing Cincinnati would be to give up either of them.

The most MLB-ready of Cincinnati's prospects is the 24-year-old Senzel, who appeared in 104 games last season, hitting .256 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI. While he is still developing, he has real potential and is under team control longer than Lindor.

In Lindor, however, the Reds would be getting one of the best position players in the game. The 26-year-old shortstop is just two years removed from setting career highs with 38 home runs, 92 RBI, 129 runs scored and 25 stolen bases.

Despite missing 19 games last season, he still finished with a .284 batting average, 32 homers, 74 RBI, 101 runs and 22 steals.

Veteran Freddy Galvis is penciled in as Cincinnati's starting shortstop, but adding Lindor would allow the Reds to put Galvis in a utility role, and it would strengthen a lineup that already includes Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez and Mike Moustakas.

The Reds have not reached the playoffs since 2013, but if they can add Lindor to a roster that already has a strong starting rotation with Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Bauer, they have a chance to be a factor in the NL Central in 2020.