It may take Francisco Lindor a few days to acclimate himself to the Mets’ spring-training facilities down in Port St. Lucie, FL, but that’s not stopping him from at least looking the part as the next face of the franchise.
As full team squad workouts began on Monday, Lindor sported an all-blue look, including hair, headbands, and gear as he officially starts his on-field work as a member of the Mets.
“As you can see, I’m all blued out… blue and orange,” he said.
There certainly is an excitement to see Lindor ply the kind of trade that made him a face of Major League Baseball and a four-time All-Star during his time with the Cleveland Indians, but there is also a present apprehension of the 27-year-old’s long-term future with the club.
He is a free agent following the 2021 season and has made it known that he won’t partake in contract-extension negotiations during the year; obviously putting an onus on the Mets to secure the star for the foreseeable future.
Those talks haven’t started, yet.
“We haven’t found a time, you know? I have to know the organization and the people and they have to know me,” Lindor said. “The reason why I’ve said I don’t want it to be after Opening Day, it’s because as players, we have a duty to show up and win. It would be unfair for me and the rest of the team to have an ongoing conversation about extending… and we show up on Opening Day and our minds are somewhere else and we don’t focus on our duty and we start losing.
“When it comes to negotiations, that’s something that’s out of the stadium and has nothing to do with showing up to the game… That’s why I said I don’t want it to extend to Opening Day.”
Lindor added that there is “mutual interest” from both him and the Mets about an extension.
“I’ve never been shy about an extension,” he said. “But it has to make sense. If it doesn’t make sense, then it’s just not fair.
“You can’t not talk about it, but it’s mixed feelings. You want to focus on your craft, you want to focus on winning and what you have to do on a daily basis.”
Mets general manager Zack Scott all but confirmed that mutual interest and a desire to get the ball rolling on talks.
“The sooner the better,” Scott said of negotiations. “But it’s when the player is ready, we’re ready to have those conversations… Obviously, he just got here. Given that players tend to want to focus on the season, we want to respect it. The sooner the better.”
When asked if Fernando Tatis Jr.’s 14-year, $340 million contract signed with the San Diego Padres last week could provide a reference point in negotiations for his next deal, Lindor pivoted.
“Tatis got an outstanding deal for him,” he said. “I’m extremely happy for him. He deserves it. His family deserves it and that shows that the game is headed in the right direction.
“I’ve never been scared of free agency, so it’s not like I have to rush to sign a deal or hope I can’t wait for free agency. I live life on a daily basis.”