Francisco Lindor says he felt comfortable with New York Mets before signing $341 million deal

ByJoon Lee via ESPN logo
Thursday, April 1, 2021

Francisco Lindor has yet to play a game in New York City, but the comfort the 27-year-old shortstop felt in the New York Mets clubhouse during spring training gave him the confidence to commit to the team in the long term.

"The group of guys and girls that we have in the clubhouse, they are committed to winning. They want to win. They want to improve," Lindor told reporters Tuesday. "They want to get better every single day, and that says a lot that we are in a position that we have a good team. They want to get better and want to continue to get better and improve to bring that championship and to continue to carry on and improve. That, to me, that's what I look for in a franchise."

When Lindor signed his 10-year, $341 million contract -- the largest ever for a major league shortstop -- on Wednesday night, he wanted to scream with joy. But given that he was sitting in a hotel room and didn't want to bother the neighbors, he kept the noise to himself before calling his loved ones.

"I screamed a little bit, but I wish I was at my house where I could've jumped in the pool, hugged everybody, kissed everybody," Lindor said.

The mega-contract makes Lindor the face of the franchise in one of the most scrutinized media markets in the America. Since he debuted in 2015, Lindor has posted the third-most fWAR (29.2) among active players behind onlyMike Trout (46.4) and Mookie Betts (38.4). The star shortstop downplayed the pressure that comes with the contract and said he planned to play with "a lot of pride."

"I'm very proud of my game, and this logo right here. I've got to go out every single day and defend it. Play with a lot of pride," Lindor said. "Play for what I have in my chest. The number next to me, there's 341 million reasons for me to go out there and play the game the right way."

With a self-imposed extension deadline of Opening Day, Lindor and the Mets went down to the wire before coming to terms on the agreement. After a dinner with owner Steve Cohen in Florida, both Lindor and the team gathered a sense of the middle ground the two sides needed to reach in order to come to an agreement.

"[The dinner] helped a lot because we got a sense of where we both were. The offer that was out there, we threw out a number, but that wasn't a line in the sand.," Lindor said. "It gave a sense of where we were to Steve and it gave a sense of where he was. He's all about winning, and we won with this. Both sides are happy. I can't wait to be stuck to his hip for the next 11 years."

In the past 24 hours, Lindor said, he has heard from many friends around the game such as fellow shortstops Carlos CorreaandJavier Baez, former teammates like Michael Brantley, and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who is a Mets fan and celebrated the signing on Twitter. While Lindor called the extension "a dream," he also indicated that he's immediately ready to get back to work.

"Whether it was my rookie season or sophomore season or third or fourth year and on, I want to put up good numbers to win. I want to win," Lindor said. "If I put up good numbers, I give my team a chance to win. It was going to be another year. It was obviously a big year because I was going to end up with no contract at the end of the year. There's a sense of urgency of putting the best numbers I can to help my team win, and it's still going to happen, and it's going to happen next year and the following year and the following year. It's not going to stop."

Lindor will be 38 years old when his contract expires. When asked what kind of player he will be in 2032, he kept his answer simple.

"I'll be a bad mother F'er," he said.