Regardless of the nostalgia that transports even the most hardened men to childhood, baseball is a business; and the New York Mets are owned by a very good one.
As fans sharpened their pitchforks and went rummaging for their torches throughout most of Wednesday when reports came down that Francisco Lindor and the club’s conversations on a long-term contract extension had reached an impasse less than 24 hours before the superstar shortstop’s self-imposed Opening-Day deadline, Steve Cohen found a way to get it done at the 11th hour.
Now everyone can go back to finding other things to complain about.
Lindor — who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians alongside Carlos Carrasco in a blockbuster deal back in January by team president Sandy Alderson — is now a Met for the next 11 years, agreeing to a 10-year, $341 million contract extension late Wednesday night, roughly 20 hours before the start of New York’s 2021 season in the nation’s capital against the Washington Nationals.
Just in case you needed further confirmation that these aren’t your “same-old Mets” that shied away at doling out large contracts to get the best players, Lindor just signed the largest contract ever for a shortstop and the third-richest contract in Major League Baseball history behind only Mike Trout and Mookie Betts — one that nearly tripled the Mets’ previous record given in an eight-year, $138 million pact with former captain, David Wright.
And it’s all because Cohen and the Mets did the necessary dance to get there.
The Mets originally offered Lindor a deal under $300 million that quickly countered with one well over that number. Multiple reports revealed soon after that Cohen and Co. came back with a deal worth $325 million over 10 years, only for Lindor’s camp to counter at 12 years, $385 million.
So began the perceived stalemate as a sizable game of financial chicken was played between the hedge-fund billionaire and one of the best shortstops in baseball, finally culminating in talks reopening late on Wednesday night.
That $341 million is $1 million more than San Diego Padres young shortstop Fernando Tatis’ new deal while also containing a $21 million signing bonus, $50 million in deferred money, no opt-outs, and a 15-team no-trade clause.
That’s what good business looks like.
That’s what the future of the New York Mets looks like.
Now it’s finally time to just play ball.