The Nine

The contract it might take to keep Francisco Lindor with Mets


Francisco Lindor has arrived at the party. Now, how do the Mets get him to stay?

The star shortstop — the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade this week that also yielded pitcher Carlos Carrasco and sent Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario, Isaiah Greene and Josh Wolf to Cleveland — is scheduled to hold a Zoom press conference on Monday, at which time questions will be asked about his future intentions. For now, the only certainty is that he belongs to the Mets for 2021, his final year before free agency.

The Post surveyed agents, baseball executives and insiders Friday for a feel on what Lindor’s magic number might be for a contract extension that would keep him in Queens for the duration of his career.

The vast majority agreed it would take a 10-year commitment to sign Lindor, who turned 27 in November. Total dollar value guesstimates ranged between $290 million and $360 million. The average of all guesstimates suggested a $320 million windfall, taking Lindor from 2021 to 2030.

Mets
Francisco Lindor
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Such a deal would surpass the 10-year contract worth $300 million that Manny Machado received from the Padres before the 2019 season. The most recent monster contract was Mookie Betts’ 12-year deal with the Dodgers worth $365 million last summer.

A rival executive predicted Lindor would ask for $390 million over 10 years.

“He turned down a big number already from the Indians, so he has big expectations,” the executive said, adding he predicts Lindor will receive $350 million from the Mets over 10 years.

An insider who predicted the low-end of the range, at $290 million over 10 years, said he believed Lindor wants to expedite the process.

“I think he wants to sign,” the insider said.

During the press conference to announce the trade, team president Sandy Alderson indicated he expected to begin negotiations with Lindor’s agent in the coming weeks. If an agreement isn’t reached before Opening Day, it would likely suggest Lindor is headed to free agency, in a potential historical market for shortstop talent. Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are among the other shortstops who can hit free agency after the season.

One agent surveyed thought the Mets, with the richest owner in the sport, Steve Cohen, might want to wait until next offseason before making a serious offer. Cohen, after all, would be in position to top any other offer Lindor received.

“I don’t think they make an offer, unless it’s really a club-friendly contract,” the agent said. “They are going to want to see him play in New York. You know how New York goes: Show me you can play in New York before I pay you. That’s the attitude I would take if I were them.”

The largest Mets contract (in terms of overall dollars) is the $138 million extension David Wright received before he hit free agency, after the 2012 season. Jacob deGrom is currently the highest-paid Mets player, as he enters the third season of a five-year contract extension worth $137.5 million.

Lindor’s motive, according to another agent surveyed, should be to get a new contract sooner rather than later — assuming, of course, that the shortstop wants to play in New York. But the agent also suggested the Mets have to make a strong offer right from the start.

“You have to make this a no-brainer for [Lindor] to do it,” the agent said. “But there’s only so many teams that are going to pay these kind of dollars. There’s only a handful of teams that can go to these levels.”

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