New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor debuted at spring training Monday in the team's first full squad workout of 2021. Lindor, a four-time All-Star, was traded to the Mets last month after six seasons with Cleveland. In a Zoom conference from the Mets' facility in Florida, Lindor spoke about how he's adjusting to the new environment and routine as well as the potential for an extension with the Mets. The 27-year-old Lindor is slated for free agency following the 2021 MLB season.
"It's been great so far," Lindor said. "Today was the first day we took the field as a team, and seeing these guys' work ethic makes you want to elevate your game. I have heard nothing but good things about this group of guys and I just want to be a piece of this puzzle."
At the time Lindor was introduced, he expressed a willingness to discuss a long-term extension with the Mets, but shared his preference for getting it done before the 2021 season gets underway. "It gets to a point in spring training and it is time to enjoy the ride and focus on winning," Lindor said during his introductory press conference last month. For Lindor, his reasoning follows most players, he prefers not to have negotiations carry over into the season itself.
"The reason why I've said I don't want it to be [after] Opening Day is because as a player, we have a duty, and the duty is to show up and win," Lindor said Monday. "It would be unfair for me and the rest of the team to have an ongoing conversation about extending, whether it's me or other players, and we show up on Opening Day and our minds are somewhere else and we don't focus on our duty.
"When it comes to negotiations, that's something that's out of the stadium, and that has nothing to do with showing up to the game on Opening Day. That's why I said I don't want it extending, if we have it, I don't want it to extend to Opening Day."
On Monday, Lindor said that there hasn't been time for serious discussions about a long-term extension with the Mets, but did say there's mutual interest.
"There has been none. We haven't found the time," Lindor said. "I obviously have to get to know the organization, get to know the people, and they have to get to know me. If something comes up, we'll see in the future, but that's between my agent and [Mets president] Sandy [Alderson] and the rest of the staff. I just focus on my business, and that's doing things the right way here. ... It's too early, I think.
"There's mutual interest. Like I said earlier, I've never been shy about an extension. Cleveland did what they had to do. They couldn't keep me. They weren't in the position to keep me. They decided to go in a different route. I've never been shy about an extension, but everything has to make sense. It has to make sense. If it doesn't make sense, then that's just not fair."
Meanwhile, in San Diego, fellow superstar shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr., made headlines for his record-breaking long-term deal to stay with the Padres. Lindor said that he messaged Tatis to congratulate him after the announcement.
"Tatis got an outstanding deal for him," Lindor said. "I'm extremely happy for him, he deserves it, his family deserves it, and that shows the game is headed in the right direction. There's two $300 million players on the same team so the game's headed in the right direction. I'm happy for him, I'm excited to watch him play for the next 14 years. Especially being in the NL this year, It will be fun to play against him."