While we’ve been (not so) patiently awaiting any positive news on the Cubs extension efforts with Anthony Rizzo (not going too well right now), the rest of the league has had their eyes on the Mets and superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Lindor, 27, is one of the best and brightest young players in the league and, like many players on the Cubs, is barreling towards free agency at the end of this year. Also like some of the Cubs players, Lindor has indicated that he would not negotiate an extension past Opening Day. So the clock is ticking in New York.
And to that end, there’s some late-night movement:
Sources: Mets offer to Francisco Lindor is $325M for 10 years. That is believed to be the final offer after moving it up past the originally planned number. Less than 3 days before Lindor’s deadline. @martinonyc on it
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 30, 2021
Earlier this evening, reports of a ~$300 million offer trickled out of the New York media, though Lindor was apparently not willing to accept at that level. Having received that message, the Mets, who are very eager to keep Lindor long-term, have apparently upped their offer to $325 million over ten years. And if Jon Heyman is correct, that sounds like their best and final offer (though we’ll see if new owner Steve Cohen has the stomach to lose this one).
As for the offer … oof. Take it, my man.
I *love* Francisco Lindor and think he’s easily worth one of the largest contracts in the history of the sport for his efforts on the field and popularity off it. But, uh … that’s exactly what this is!
An average annual value of $32.5 million would be the ninth-largest such figure in MLB history and the overall commitment would be the fourth largest in the history of the sport. Obviously, it’s at least possible that deferrals or other language make this deal look less enticing than it actually is, but IF that is the actual offer, I think Lindor would be silly not to accept it.
With Mike Trout ($360M), Fernando Tatis Jr. ($340M), and Bryce Harper ($330M) the only players to secure larger overall guarantees (Mookie Betts’ deal was worth $306M when you include deferrals, so this would BEAT that), there’s just not much room for growth. It would take a really great year at the plate to inch that up even a little in free agency, and he is coming off his worst overall offensive season in 2020: .258/.335/.415 (102 wRC+).
If he repeated that performance, the value of his next contract would likely drop dramatically. But if he kills it, the opportunity for growth is relatively small (he’s not as good as Trout or as young as Tatis).
Yes, the Mets are feeling the heat to get something done, but if they don’t, there will be a TON of really exciting free agent shortstops available next winter (Javy Baez, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, etc.)). And ultimately, that’s why I think this will work.
As for the impact on the shortstop market, well, that may be a story for another day. But suffice it to say, despite Baez not likely coming *anywhere close* to Lindor in free agency or an extension, an accepted $325M deal could up his asking price with the Cubs, which might make it harder for an extension to get done. Of course, a declined offer and a monster year from Baez could make him an attractive target for the Mets next winter and *that* might make him less inclined to sign an under-market extension right now too. So, you know … let’s just hope the Cubs have a plan they know they can accomplish.