Chicago Cubs: Cubs send Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ to the Cleveland Indians for Francisco Lindor.
Why it makes sense: The Indians aren’t likely to be able to sign Francisco Lindor to a long-term deal, so there’s a chance they’ll be looking to move him this offseason. The Indians won 93 games last year and play in a lousy division, so they’re likely going to want to retool rather than rebuild. This trade with the Chicago Cubs would give them a solid outfield/DH option that they could control for two years, along with a major-league ready hitter that they could move around the diamond.
The Cubs already have a shortstop in Javier Baez, but Baez has played a lot of second base in his career, so he could slide back over and fill the Cubs’ big gap there. Lindor can’t become a free agent for another two years, so that would be an advantage over trading for Betts, over whom they would only have one year of control.
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Why it wouldn’t make sense: Neither team would come out much further ahead with this deal. The main pieces, Kyle Schwarber and Lindor, are both free agents at the same time, so neither side is gaining in that regard. The Indians would get more power, while the Cubs would become more athletic, but the net gain on either side would be minimal. Plus, the Cubs would solve one problem at second base but would have another hole to fill in left field.
Also, how would Baez handle being moved once again? He’d probably be okay with it, but you hate to have to keep doing that to a star player.
Plus, Baez is a dynamic shortstop, and you’d hate to lose that. And as with Betts, there’s the concern over how Lindor would handle a move to the National League. There’s just not much of a chance of this trade happening.