The New York Mets have offered a deal close to 10 years and $325 million to All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor as the two sides continue to work toward an agreement for a contract extension, Andy Martino of SNY reported on Monday night. Such a deal would be second only to Mookie Betts' $365 million deal with the Dodgers among extensions signed by players with between five and six years of MLB service time -- i.e., those in or headed into their walk years.
However, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com adds that Lindor is seeking $385 million. That puts to two sides still far apart with little time before the likely deadline of Opening Day. A source tells DiComo that the Mets have made their final offer. That, of course, could be posturing from a club official designed to ratchet up the pressure on Lindor and his representatives.
It's not certain whether the Mets' proposed contract would begin with the 2021 or 2022 season. If agreed to, the average annual value of $32.5 million would be the ninth-largest such figure in MLB history. The deal would also tie Giancarlo Stanton's extension he signed with the Marlins as the fourth-largest in the history of the sport.
Martino's report comes soon after Lindor's face-to-face meeting with team owner Steve Cohen. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that Lindor and Cohen met for dinner on Saturday night to discuss the possibility of a new contract that would remove Lindor from the 2021-22 crop of free agents and keep him in Queens for years to come.
David Samson broke down the negotiations on the latest episode of Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:
The Mets acquired Lindor from Cleveland back in January, and not long after that blockbuster trade was finalized, Lindor stated he was open to signing an extension with New York. However, he also indicated that he'd be reluctant to allow negotiations to drag on into the regular season. Thursday's Opening Day means time is running out to get something done, but this face-to-face meeting with Cohen and now Martino's approximate figure suggest that talks are at an advanced stage.
For his part, Cohen seemed to acknowledge the meeting:
The ravioli wasn’t very good— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) March 28, 2021
Tuesday, Cohen kept after it with a series of tweets. Such as ...
Lindor is a heckuva player and a great guy . I hope he decides to sign— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) March 30, 2021
... and this ...
There no teasing going on. I have made a great offer . It does take two to tango— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) March 30, 2021
Obviously, Lindor is worth any plausible figure required to secure his services long-term. He's a slick-fielding shortstop who adds big value on the bases and also hits for excellent power. Indeed, since the start of his career in 2015, Lindor's WAR of 28.7 ranks sixth among MLB position players over that span. At age 27, Lindor should have plenty more of that to come. Add to all that his magnetic personality and almost palpable enthusiasm for his craft, and he's a franchise cornerstone on and off the field. The Mets and their plentiful resources should not hesitate to pay the going rates.
Cohen is no doubt aware of all this, just as he's aware of the pressure to get something done and make good on the bravado that issued from him early in his ownership tenure. Time, however, is running short.