It’s been a couple of days since the Mets traded for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, and one of the first questions that Sandy Alderson and Jared Porter were asked in their press conference announcing the move on Thursday afternoon was about a potential contract extension for Lindor. Considering the 27-year-old switch-hitting superstar would be eligible for free agency following the 2021 season, it’s a natural thing for Mets fans and the folks covering the team to start thinking about.
For starters, while the Mets didn’t give up very much to get Lindor and Carrasco, it would be pretty shocking if the team wasn’t fully intent on signing Lindor to a long term extension. It would be a great thing to do, altering the future of the franchise for the better by locking up an elite player whose previous team simply decided it did not want to win and would rather save tear down its payroll.
The Dodgers took advantage of the Red Sox’ desire to do the same thing when they traded for and subsequently extended Mookie Betts—another one of the every best players in baseball who was entering his age-27 season at the time he was traded. Steve Cohen publicly stated a desire to have the Mets operate like the Dodgers in his introductory press conference, and his front office wisely pounced on a very similar opportunity and figures to see it through in the same fashion for the long term.
Assuming that happens, Mets fans should be nothing other than ecstatic. Having spent the past couple of decades obsessed with payroll thanks to the uncertain budgets of the team under the Wilpons, people might be inclined to worry that the Mets have to pay Lindor market rate over the course of a long term contract. The reality is that a long term deal means the Mets get to retain Lindor, paying him a salary he deserves along the way. Seeing your favorite team keep that kind of player should be universally celebrated and praised.
Some will say that they want to see Lindor play in New York first. Others will point to a free agent market following the 2021 season that will could include Lindor, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Trevor Story. But there’s no guarantee that the other shortstops will hit the market at all, and Lindor is the best player of that group anyway.
Whatever the exact details of a Lindor extension might be—something at or near ten years with an average annual value over $30 million—the Mets have a much better shot at being a perennial contender by locking up a shortstop who is one of the best players in the game on an annual basis. Here’s hoping that happens, and we’ll be here to celebrate if and when it does.