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Ranking the Indians' potential trade partners for Francisco Lindor deal

With the Cleveland Indians reportedly fielding offers for Francisco Lindor, a number of potential trade partners have emerged.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Nov. 5, 2020.

Following multiple reports that the Cleveland Indians plan to trade Francisco Lindor prior to the start of the 2021 season, the only question left is "where?"

RELATED: More Cleveland Indians coverage from WKYC

Last month, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi provided a list of teams viewed as the most likely candidates to pursue the Indians' 4-time All-Star shortstop. 

And while a lot can change between now and the start of the season, the list provides an interesting look into the type of offers Cleveland might be fielding in the weeks ahead.

Of course, there's still time for other teams to make their offers and enter the Lindor sweepstakes, with the Cincinnati Reds having already reportedly entered the mix

But in the meantime, let's rank Lindor's reported suitors based on which would make for the most attractive trade partner for the Tribe.

(Team are ranked from least appealing to most appealing)

6. Cincinnati Reds

The Indians have already shown a willingness to deal with their in-state counterpart. In 2019, Cleveland sent pitcher Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati in a three-team deal also involving the San Diego Padres, in which the Indians acquired outfielder Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes.

But while the Reds are reportedly in the market for a high end starting shortstop, it's tough to imagine them having the assets to pull off a deal for Lindor if his trade market is robust. According to MLB.com, Cincinnati currently lays claim to the No. 22 farm system -- the second-lowest of any team on this list.

5. St. Louis Cardinals

At 18th, the Cardinals lay claim to the second-highest ranked farm system on this list. And St. Louis has the incentive to make a splash, as it looks to keep pace with the reigning World Series champion Dodgers in the National League.

The question is whether the Cardinals have the financial wherewithal to not only acquire Lindor, but sign him to a long-term extension. While St. Louis' payroll ranked 10th in baseball in 2020, the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could stand in its way.

4. New York Yankees

The Yankees might not be the same spenders they were just a few years ago, but they're always a threat to take a big swing. And following Steve Cohen's purchase of the Mets, now might be the right time for the Bronx Bombers to add one of baseball's biggest stars -- especially if they don't re-sign free-agent infielder DJ LeMahieu.

In addition to a rising farm system that includes three top-100 prospects, the Yankees have a number of big-league level players who could be of interest to the Indians. Perhaps the most notable is outfielder Clint Frazier, who was once a top prospect in the Cleveland organization before the Indians traded him to New York as a part of the Andrew Miller deal.

3. Philadelphia Phillies

With Didi Gregorius set to hit free agency, the Phillies will likely be in the market for a new shortstop. And it would hardly be a surprise to see Philadelphia look to make a splash after having missed each of the past nine postseasons.

While the Phillies' farm system only ranks 23rd, they also possess the type of young, Major League-ready players such as Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard that Cleveland will likely be looking for. Plus, if the Mets make a big run at acquiring Lindor, it could help drive up the price for their N.L. East rival.

2. New York Mets

With a new owner with deep pockets, there's no team that fits the bill better of a potential trade partner for the Tribe than the Mets. At this point, it's not a question of if Cohen's franchise will make a big-name acquisition, but rather who that player will be.

Laying claim to the No. 20 farm system that includes four top-100 prospects, the Mets should have enough ammo to acquire Lindor. And in what could become a bidding war within not only their own division but also their city, they may have the most incentive to pay the highest price.

1. Toronto Blue Jays

As they look to maximize the timeline of their young roster, it could behoove the Blue Jays to add a star player of Lindor's caliber. And Toronto executives Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have plenty of familiarity with the 4-time All-Star, having worked in Cleveland when the Indians drafted him in 2011.

What's more is that as opposed to the other teams on this list, the Blue Jays possess a top-10 farm system (No. 7). Should Toronto set its sights on Lindor, it would tough for other suitors to match an offer against the Blue Jays, especially if they make top 100 prospects Austin Martin and/or Jordan Groshans available.