Contract extension talks between the New York Mets and All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor are expected to begin sometime this week, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported on Monday morning.
Lindor has yet to play a regular-season game with the Mets after he was acquired from the Cleveland Indians alongside Carlos Carrasco for a package headlined by Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez. But the 27-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the 2021 season, making him a free agent; though he arrives in Queens with the expectation of being the franchise shortstop for the better part of the next decade.
Mets president Sandy Alderson revealed last week that talks would begin “relatively soon,” with each passing day tacking on that much more anxiety for a Mets fan base that is peering at the clock.
Lindor has given the Mets a deadline of April 1, Opening Day, to work out a new deal, imploring that he does not want negotiations hovering around him during the season.
“I have never negotiated a contract during the season, never,” Lindor said at his introductory press conference — a tune he’s maintained throughout the offseason. “I’ve always said either before spring training, but when it gets to a point in spring training, it’s time to enjoy the ride and focus on winning.
“That’s the only thing I should be focusing on. Not how much money I get.”
He is poised to receive quite a pretty penny. Industry expectations tab his next deal around the 10-year mark and for possibly over $300 million.
Both Lindor and Alderson cited taking the time to get to know each other as the reason why negotiations haven’t begun earlier as a Mets fan base anxiously looks at the clock ticking closer and closer to Opening Day, which is just over three weeks away.
“I think [an extension is] very important,” Lindor said of the magnitude of his next deal last week. “Knowing where home is going to be for the next however many years is going to be huge. We’ll see how everything goes, but I live life on a daily basis.”
Lindor’s extension isn’t the only notable and pressing expiring deal within the Mets’ ranks. Star right fielder Michael Conforto is up for extension talks as well as starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman.
“It’s not that difficult to [negotiate multiple contracts at the same time],” Mets acting general manager Zack Scott said on Feb. 22. “I’ve been apart of those conversations before. We’ve been able to do it… I don’t think having multiple players and agents to talk about those sorts of things is a challenge.”