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Francisco Lindor has averaged 29 home runs, 86 RBI and 21 steals in six major league seasons, but he’s due to become a free agent after the 2021 season and had turned down long-term contract offers from Cleveland. David Dermer/Associated Press

CLEVELAND — The Indians drafted and developed Francisco Lindor, who blossomed into an All-Star shortstop and one of baseball’s best all-around players.

Cleveland chased a World Series title with him.

They’ll now do it without Lindor.

Knowing they could never meet his price, the Indians dealt the four-time All-Star and pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets, who have a new owner willing to spend at baseball’s highest levels in order to get his franchise back on top.

The cash-strapped Indians sent Lindor and Carrasco to the Mets on Thursday for infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario, right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene – a move Cleveland hopes can keep it competitive and capable of ending baseball’s longest title drought.

The Indians knew this day was coming. That didn’t make it any easier.

“They’re special people in addition to special players,” said Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations, adding he cried when informing the players they were New York bound. “Trades like this are really, really hard to make. But at the same time, we feel it’s the right thing to do for us.

“Hopefully this will be – as painful as it is right now – a trade that positions us to be successful moving forward.”

Dealing Lindor, who is eligible for free agency after the 2021 season, will cut roughly ‘$30 million off the Indians’ payroll and allow them to rebuild.

For the Mets, the acquisition is another sign owner Steven Cohen means business.

“They did not come cheaply,” Mets President Sandy Alderson said of Lindor and Carrasco . “What we’re trying to do is create a new reality rather than deal with perception.”

A billionaire hedge fund manager, Cohen bought the team on Nov. 6 from the Wilpon and Katz families and pledged to increase spending. One of his next big-ticket items figures to be signing Lindor to a long-term contract, something the Indians couldn’t do.

Lindor, who will be playing in a far different spotlight than he experienced in Cleveland, impacts the game with his bat, glove and legs. A two-time Gold Glove winner, he’s a career .285 hitter and averaged 29 homers, 86 RBI and 21 steals in his six major league seasons – all with the Indians, who drafted him in 2011.

He’s been the face of the Indians’ franchise, with an infectious smile and joy for playing that has made him one of Cleveland’s most popular athletes. But he’s gone now, leaving the Indians without their best player and the team’s fans grumbling about owner Paul Dolan.

Cleveland had run out of options. Lindor has turned down numerous long-term contract offers from the Indians, betting on himself and knowing he could get more money from a major-market team when he becomes a free agent.

It may seem unfair, but Antonetti has long acknowledged the Indians don’t have money to throw around.

“What we have to do is deal with the reality of what the system is,” he said. “In this case, we had a top pick, got a really good player, he developed into a star, we made multiple attempts to try to sign him. That didn’t happen and now he’s transitioned to another organization. That’s just the reality of the professional baseball landscape right now.”

Carrasco is one of the game’s best comeback stories, overcoming leukemia to become one of the AL’s steadiest starters. The 33-year-old has a 88-73 career record with a 3.73 ERA.

Beyond his stats, Carrasco was a team leader. But with an abundance of young pitchers, including Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, the Indians were in position to move a player of Carrasco’s caliber to fill more holes.

Carrasco can be replaced. Finding someone to fill Lindor’s shoes will be much tougher.

The 25-year-old Rosario is a good start. He’s been New York’s primary shortstop the past three seasons.

“We think he has a chance to help our major league team either as a shortstop or as a player that could play multiple positions, or settle at a different defensive position,” Antonetti said. But, a guy with great ability.”

Lindor is signed for only another season, so the Mets will have to get to work quickly on locking him up for the long term.

“We’ve had one conversation with him and no conversations with his agent,” Alderson said. “We acquired Francisco because of his present ability and the possibility that he could be a Met long term. There’s no guarantee of that. It’s something that we will approach, you know, in the next few weeks.”

Cohen is hoping to turn around a franchise that has not won a World Series since 1986, and been overshadowed by the crosstown Yankees. .

Carrasco is signed at $12 million in each of the next two seasons, part of a deal that includes a $14 million team option for 2023 with a $3 million buyout. The option would become guaranteed if he pitches in 170 innings in 2022 and is found to be healthy for the 2023 season.

Since Cohen’s takeover, the Mets learned pitcher Marcus Stroman accepted an $18.9 million qualifying offer and signed right-hander Trevor May to a $15.5 million, two-year contract and catcher James McCann to a $40.6 million, four-year deal. New York also signed injured right-hander Noah Syndergaard to a $9.7 million, one-year deal.

JUSTIN SMOAK has agreed on a deal to play for the Yomiuri Giants.

Smoak, a first baseman, played last season with the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants. The deal was announced on the Yomiuri Giants website on Thursday and confirmed by a team spokesman. The Yomiuri Giants did not provide any financial details.

The 34-year-old Smoak broke in with the Texas Rangers in 2008 and has also played for Seattle and Toronto. He is a switch-hitting batter and has a career average of .229 with 196 home runs. He was an All-Star in 2017.

He hit only .176 in the short season last year with the Brewers and Giants.

JAPANESE STAR pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano failed to agree to a contract with a major league team by Thursday’s deadline.

A right-hander who turned 31 on Oct. 11, Sugano had been posted by the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Central League on Dec. 8.

Sugano was 14-2 with a 1.97 ERA and three shutouts in 20 games last season, striking out 131 and walking 25 in 137 1/3 innings, allowing 97 hits. He is 101-49 with a 2.32 ERA over eight seasons in Japan.

Sugano started for Japan against the United States in the semifinal of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He did not get a decision in the Americans’ 2-1 win, allowing an unearned run and three hits in six innings with six strikeouts and a walk.

Under the posting agreement, the fee would have been 20% of the first $25 million of a major league contract, including earned bonuses and options. The percentage drops to 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any amount over $50 million.

TRADE: Switch-hitting outfielder Greg Allen was acquired by the New York Yankees from the San Diego Padres for left-hander James Reeves.

Allen, 27, has a .239 average with eight homers and 57 RBI in 557 at-bats and 221 games over four seasons with Cleveland (2017-20) and San Diego (2020). Allen hit .154 with one homer and four RBI in 26 at-bats over 16 games last year. He was designated for assignment on Dec. 31.

A San Diego native, Allen is not yet eligible for salary arbitration.

Reeves, 27, is 20-7 with a 2.30 ERA in 12 starts and 125 relief appearances over five minor league seasons. He did not get in a game last year, when the minor league seasons were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ASTROS: Right-hander Ryne Stanek and the Houston Astros agreed to a $1.1 million, one-year contract.

Stanek spent last season with the Marlins, and he made $223,778 prorated from his $604,200 salary. He became a free agent he wasn’t offered a contract by Miami by the Dec. 2 deadline.

Stanek has made 152 appearances in the last four seasons with the Rays and Marlins. He has a career 4.00 ERA with 210 strikeouts in 173.1 innings.

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