Over the next two seasons, Cleveland Indians star shortstop Francisco Lindor will likely make over $40 million through the arbitration process. That's too steep for a franchise like Cleveland, so trading their best player in Lindor is a real possibility this winter.
Who can pay that tab? The New York Yankees.
Not only can the Yankees cover that kind of money, but they have the young pieces to get a deal done. For any Lindor-to-the-Yankees deal to happen, New York's top pitching prospect Deivi Garcia has to be part of it.
With the logjam they have at the hot corner, New York should be more than willing to part ways with Miguel Andujar, even though he was a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2018.
Cleveland will certainly want an outfielder, especially since that's been their biggest weakness for several years now. It might hurt because his raw tools are so impressive, but outfielder Estevan Florial will be another one of the centerpieces of this trade.
Add in a couple pitching prospects like Clarke Schmidt and Garrett Whitlock and the Indians should seriously consider moving the face of their franchise, who is unlikely to be retained when he becomes a free agent in two years.
So here's what it might look like:
Yankees Receive: Francisco Lindor
Indians Receive: Miguel Andujar, Estevan Florial, Deivi Garcia, and one or two of Thairo Estrada/Clarke Schmidt/Garrett Whitlock
I'm sure the Indians would want infielder Gleyber Torres as part of a Lindor trade, but that's a non-starter and would immediately end any kind of trade discussions between the two teams.
Cleveland has leverage and certainly doesn't have to trade Lindor right now, especially since he's not demanding one, but do they really think they can win a title in the next two years with him? That's what they have to be asking themselves, and maybe they have total belief in their core to get the job done in the next two years.
But if they don't, the Yankees will come calling with an impressive package of young, controllable players.