It’s really exciting that the Mets acquired Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. It really is. It’s not every day that players of his caliber are available, and he is really one of the whitest of whales: a five-tool shortstop who excels in basically every aspect of the game. Add Carlos Carrasco to the mix, an above-average pitcher who can show flashes of absolute dominance, and wow.
But in order to get something, you need to give up something. Thanks to Lindor’s contractual status and Cleveland’s financial situation, the cost to acquire the duo was not nearly as high as it could’ve been. In order to get the third-best position player and tenth-best pitcher in baseball since 2015, the Mets gave up Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, and a pair of prospects.
Ranked 7th on our recently completed list of the Mets’ top 25 prospects for the 2021 season, Josh Wolf checks all of the boxes you want to see in a highly regarded prep pitcher. Solid pitching frame? Check. Exciting fastball? Check. At least one secondary pitch that flashes above-average? Check. Isaiah Green, same thing. He’s athletic, he’s toolsy, he’s projectable, he’s pretty much everything that you want to see in a teenage outfielder.
Between the two of them, there’s plenty of potential there, but that’s all it is right now. Barely out of high school, both have their warts—and that’s okay! They were selected 53rd and 69th in their respective drafts, not 1-1. The best case scenario would have them making their major league debuts in 2023, splitting time between Low-A St. Lucie and High-A Brooklyn in 2021 and splitting time Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse in 2022. Any bumps in the road, any problems, any injuries, any other delays pushes that timeline back. In the meantime, Francisco Lindor will be raking and Carlos Carrasco will be mowing batters down.
At the end of the day, it’s a no-brainer. When you can acquire players of their caliber, you do it; that the cost is so depressed by a variety of factors, even better. The Mets’ minor league system— my main priority and concern—will take a hit will their departures, but it is what it is. As such relatively new additions to the system, I have much less of a vested interest in their careers. As someone who researches who these kids are when they are drafted and subsequently follows their careers for years, tracking their trials and tribulations, successes and triumphs, I generally become very invested in these players. It’s hard not to. That the Mets traded two players that I am not too particularly attached to softens the blow.
Losing Wolf and Greene leaves the Mets minor league system a little weaker, but their value—the value of the minor leagues in general—is all conceptual. These players only conceptually help the Mets. Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco literally help them.
Also, one good thing about the Mets trading Greene is that, for the life of me, I can never spell “Isaiah” correctly. Years of following the Knicks has conditioned me to always type “Isiah” instead. So there is that.
This one hits different. Francisco Lindor getting traded to the Mets is something that would not and could not—and frankly, did not—happen in the decades of Wilpon ownership. They would not have even been rumored to acquire him, let alone pull the trigger. Naturally, an extension needs to be done here, but I doubt you trade two shortstops and not extend the one you get back. On top of that, they took on more money with pairing Carlos Carrasco to this, who is legitimately good in his own right—he comes to Queens with a career 3.77 ERA, paired with a 29.3% strikeout rate and a 9.3% walk rate. He had a rough 2019, but that year he was diagnosed and subsequently beat cancer so frankly, the baseball side of things simply do not matter at all for that year.
Amed Rosario was a Prospect Who Was Promised, but he never lived up to his lofty pre-call-up expectations. He carries with him an 89 career wRC+ with him to Cleveland, with his best season coming in 2019 when he was a bang average 100 wRC+ hitter. The book on him is not closed, especially since he is only 25, but it’s unclear what role he will fill in Cleveland right now. Prospects with less minor league experience have popped before, but I am not sure it would have ever happened here.
On the current prospect side, the Mets lost two players who ranked highly in their system but are ultimately replaceable.
Josh Wolf is the highest prospect they traded, ranking 7th on our list here. He was the second player drafted in the 2019 draft that got them Brett Baty and Matthew Allan. It was a significant haul at the time, and so far, it has paid off. It supplied three top-ten prospects in their system and now helped get Lindor to Queens. Wolf is probably the worst prospect in the trio, but it is not a slight to him—he has a lot to like. He throws up to 97 and has a good mix of pitches behind that, including a slider, a 12-6 curve, and a (currently very rough) changeup. My biggest marks against him, and something that holds me back on him a tad, is that his mechanics are not exceptionally clean. The first person I recognized in his delivery was Addison Reed. He might end up a reliever, but he could be a good one.
Isaiah Greene, who we had ranked 13th in the system at Amazin’ Avenue, is someone I personally like a lot. He is a fast player who profiles as a strong defender, which gives him a solid floor as a prospect. On the offensive side he is a line drive hitter, and at his young age—he was drafted out of high school last year—there is plenty of time for him to grow into more power. While it is unclear if that happens as we sit here today, I think he is a prospect worth keeping an eye on.