While we’re not yet in the Full Hot Stove mode of the MLB offseason, we’re working our way toward the point at which players begin changing teams via free agency and trade. So to prime the pump for those days and weeks of high winter intrigue, let’s quickly round up some of the rumors that are out there on this fine Sunday. Onward into the muck. 

Cleveland wants Mets to pursue Lindor

Cleveland is widely expected to trade All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor this offseason. He’s going into his walk year in 2021, and the Dolan family has shown no willingness to invest in payroll at levels befitting a contender — a contender that hasn’t won the World Series since 1948, it should be noted. Anyhow, it of course suits the team’s interests if there’s a healthy market for Lindor. On that front, here’s a nugget from MLB Network’s Jon Morosi: 

It won’t be surprising if teams slow-play transactions of all kinds this offseason given the still uncertain nature of the 2021 season. The same goes for a possible Lindor trade. The real takeaway is that Cleveland wants the Mets involved. Most teams are going to be loath to commit to big jumps in payroll this winter, and even a one-year commitment to a shining star like Lindor could give owners pause. That’s not a justifiable stance on the part of those owners, but it’s the current reality. New Mets owner Steve Cohen may be the exception that sets the market, and that’s why Cleveland wants him in the mix. 

Speaking of which, our own R.J. Anderson recently name-checked the Mets as a potential trading partner in any Lindor deal. Here’s what he wrote about what the Mets might offer: 

What they could offer: [Amed] Rosario and [Andres] Gimenez, for starters. You’d figure that Brandon Nimmo’s name could pop up, too. Otherwise, the Mets would have to build a package around a combination of Ronny Mauricio, Mark Vientos, Francisco Alvarez, and Matthew Allan.

This one bears monitoring, to say the least. 

Teams checking in on JBJ

Free agent center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is perhaps seeing his market develop here in the early weeks of the offseason. WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that, according to sources, the Red Sox have already reached out to Bradley about a possible reunion in Boston. As well, the Astros and an unnamed AL Central team also have interest in him. The Astros would presumably have interest in him as a replacement for outgoing free agent George Springer, who may command more than Houston is willing to pay. 

Bradley, who remains a defensive asset in center, is coming off a 2020 season in which he put up an OPS+ of 118 in 55 games. For his career, he owns an OPS+ of 94 across parts of eight big-league seasons. Bradley turns 31 in April and has spent his entire professional career with the Red Sox. 

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