After the Mets announced a 10-year contract extension for SS Francisco Lindor on Monday, owner Steve Cohen and president Sandy Alderson explained why the four-time All-Star was worth a reported $341 million new deal.
“I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve had a few dinners with Francisco and he’s a special guy,” Cohen said. “He’s got a winning personality, he’s a leader, they love him in the clubhouse, he brings intangibles that you need if you’re going to win championships and, obviously, a great ballplayer besides.
“This is a special guy. I think I’m good friends with him and we text all the time and I think the Mets fans are going to love this guy.”
The Mets landed Lindor and RHP Carlos Carrasco in a Jan. 7 trade that sent INFs Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez with two prospects to Cleveland. Despite what the Mets gave up to acquire Lindor, a decision on committing became obvious to Alderson and company after being around him in spring training.
“What’s critical in cases where long-term commitments are being made is the player’s character,” Alderson said. “How is this contract going to change his behavior, if at all? And I think, as Steve has pointed out, he seems to be a very special guy and authentic.
“So what we saw over the last six weeks was not just a prelude to a contract. It was a prelude to a long-term commitment to the Mets. And I think from a character standpoint, as well as all of the other qualities that he brings to the table, we got comfortable over the last six weeks.”
The 27-year-old Lindor is a Met through 2031. Cohen has money and wants to make the Mets a contender, but not every player is on Lindor’s level.
“I said it in the initial press conference that I wasn’t going to run around and spend money like a drunken sailor,” Cohen said. “Francisco’s a special guy and deserved a special contract.
“Each situation we’re going to evaluate differently. Sometimes, when you tie yourself into long-term deals, it potentially could hurt you flexibility in other areas and we have to weigh that. But we’re going to be significant players for terrific free agents down the road and we’re going to act like a major-market club.”