JUPITER, Fla. – Clover Park experienced a pleasant explosion of noise pollution around 7:30 a.m. Monday.
“He walked into the clubhouse and he was just screaming, very loud,” Luis Rojas said of Francisco Lindor (who else?). “Everyone was full of energy.”
“It’s game time. It’s game day,” Lindor explained hours later, at the indefinitely named Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. “We spent the entire offseason training and finally got to play a game, whether it counts or not. It’s what we live for. “
The Mets’ first major game of Mr. Smile unfolded quietly on the field, as Lindor, hitting second and starting at shortstop (where else?), Went 0 for 2 and handled an uneventful groundout as the Mets lost their first Grapefruit League game, 2-0, to the Marlins in their first game against paying fans since March 2020. However, the four-time All-Star continued to display his star power as he and the Mets are gearing up for talks about a massive contract extension. .
“Right now, I have enjoyed the process of preparing for the games. I don’t know when the talks will start, ”Lindor said. “When they start, the best thing is that I have an incredible agent [David Meter] to handle it. That’s why they pay you. He will call me and keep me posted, and then it will be the decision after that. Have all the headaches. Let it run all the numbers and stuff. “
Mets president Sandy Alderson said Monday morning at a Zoom news conference that the club’s efforts to expand both Lindor, acquired from the Indians in January, and local Michael Conforto “will begin relatively soon in both cases. ” Alderson added: “We made the exchange [for Lindor]. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we are guaranteed to have it in the long term, but I think we are committed to talking about it. “
Regarding Lindor’s request that these negotiations be concluded at the end of spring training, “Francisco has said that he does not want to negotiate after the season begins. We have taken it at face value, ”Alderson said. “We will do our best to see what can be done between now and then. On the other hand, if things don’t work out by the end of spring training, hopefully we can keep communicating. … We will try to make that calendar the best we can. “
Lindor nearly hit a swing bunt off the mound in the first inning. In the third inning, batting left-hander off Miami right-handed reliever Anthony Bass, he lined out to left fielder Corey Dickerson.
While he’s coming off a below-average 2020 season (for him) shortened by COVID, having posted a bar line of .258 / .335 / .415, Lindor’s first four full seasons in the majors put him online for a mega deal that could exceed $ 300 million. He has played his future in stride, expressing his openness to circumventing free agency without going crazy down that road.
“I just live life on a daily basis. I’m living the dream, ”said Lindor, who identified marrying his fiancee Nilmarie Huertas and committing to a long-term team as his two remaining priorities. “The dream is pretty good.”
He’s certainly forced the Mets to dream of having him for a long time since he came to camp. Alderson praised Lindor for the leadership he has already exhibited – as an example, Lindor has worked with Mets third baseman JD Davis to get into better positions – and Rojas said, “He’s acting like he’s at home.”
In keeping with that, Lindor has gotten to know the heads of the house, new Mets owner Steve Cohen and his wife Alex. Lindor, a native of Puerto Rico, said: “Alex (who is of Puerto Rican descent), our backgrounds are quite similar. She is a great woman, a powerful woman, a great heart.
“Steve, talking to him is always fun. He is a good person, a great character. Your mindset is different from other people’s. I like that. I like that he always has a good sense of humor. See them, chat with them, that’s what it’s all about. He signs my check, why not have a good relationship? Suit for your organization. I have to represent the Cohen family in the right way and represent the Mets in the right way.
His exhibition debut with the Mets didn’t serve as Lindor’s only excitement on Monday. His newest sneaker, The Lindor 1 from New Balance, was launched, further inflaming the 27-year-old.
“It was amazing. I haven’t cried with emotion in a long time and today was one of those days,” Lindor said. “I’m humble, I’m excited. It’s a blessing the Lord has poured out on me and my family.”
More blessings could come in no time if the Mets price is right.