New York Mets "Almost Certainly Willing" to Go to $300 Million to Extend Francisco Lindor

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New York Mets “Almost Certainly Willing” to Go to $300 Million to Extend Francisco Lindor

Chicago Cubs

The upcoming free agent class is, right now, the best we’ve seen in a very long time. We focus on the Cubs for obvious reasons, but their top free agents are far from the only ones scheduled to hit the market.

Of course, we use words like “right now” and “scheduled” because, historically, Spring Training sees at least a few guys go off the market via extension. And one of the best free-agents-to-be, Francisco Lindor, has long been expected to be extended by the team that acquired him this offseason, the Mets. Where things stand on that front will impact not only his availability, but also the market as a whole. That’s especially true when the current CBA expires in December, and every team/player is making decisions against such an uncertain backdrop. Every data point tells us something.

The latest on Lindor, via SNY:

While the Mets’ offer to Lindor was described by a source as slightly less than $300 million — and the counter was well over — the Mets are almost certainly willing to get to $300 million to lock up Lindor.

If the shortstop wants significantly more than $300 million — like, for example, the $340 million that the San Diego Padres are paying Fernando Tatis Jr. or the $365 million deal between the Dodgers and Mookie Betts — an agreement could be tricky, to say the least.

The sides are not currently close on what constitutes a fair price.

If I had to bet, I’d say a deal gets done before Opening Day. If the Mets are really willing to go to $300 million on Lindor, he should sign that deal. Lindor is a stud and he’d be hitting free agency at just 28 years old, but the group of players receiving $300+ million contracts in baseball history is still tiny. Moreover, while Lindor posted a near MVP-caliber season in 2018, that was his only such season. Outside of that year, he’s been about a 115 wRC+ guy offensively, which is tremendously valuable when coming from an elite defensive shortstop, but $300+ million? You’re hoping he can be quite a bit more than that. All it would take is a down 2021 season or an injury, and Lindor’s price tag could easily be cut in half.

So, like I said, I think there’s going to be a deal there if the Mets really do go to $300 million. Lindor has said he won’t negotiate past Opening Day, for what it’s worth.

The potential Cubs-related impact here, outside of Lindor going off the market for the big free agent class, would be whether Javy Báez continues to see his own value changed by the monster deals he sees for other shortstops. Báez is not Lindor in total value, and price tags get stretched when it comes to the extreme guys. So, no, it’s not as if $300 million for Lindor means $200+ million for Báez. But it’s conceivable that Báez would see $100 million right now – for example – as just too far a cry for him to accept, knowing that if he were to put together a great offensive rebound in 2021, he could seek far more than that in free agency when considering his glove is among the clear best in baseball.

The Cubs and Báez are expected to continue talking extension in the coming days, and possibly on into the season if it comes to that.

Other big-time shortstops in the upcoming class include Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Marcus Semien, if he bounces back.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.