Is he a rental?
I understand the term “rental” when discussing trading at the deadline for a player that’s about to be a free agent at year’s end, but not for a guy with multiple years of control. If you can swap out a Major Leaguer with a couple of prospects (that may or may not pan out) for one of the very best superstars in the game, I like it.
When you get that guy for two years as a discounted price (albeit still high for the Rays) it’s not a rental. Lindor is projected to earn just under $17 million this season. That number will probably reach as high as the mid-twenties next season. He would instantly be the highest-paid player on the Rays.
$17 million for one of the absolute best players in the game is a really good deal. I don’t need to tell you what the top players are getting in the free-agent market are getting.
Even if he earns in the mid-twenties next year, it’s a great value compared to the going-rate. We know Stu Sternberg discussed the ability to spend up to around $80 million or as low as $40 million, as long as they believe they are getting a good value. If the Rays believe they can part with the players it would take to acquire Lindor, the salary like a banana, it’s easy to digest.
There’s nothing that says “rental” about getting a superstar for two years. It’s no different than signing a free agent for two years, outside of the players the Rays would have to give up. Considering the discounted salary, this could make sense if the Rays can withstand the loss of the players involved.