WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Mets president Sandy Alderson watched from seats near the road dugout Sunday as potentially $ 500 million in contract extensions unloaded against the Nationals.
First, Michael Conforto homered on the grassy knoll behind the center field fence at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Later, Francisco Lindor hit his third home run in less than a week, a two-run shot inside the right-field foul post, also off Max Scherzer.
Checkbook, Steve Cohen?
Both players are discussing long-term extensions with the Mets, but with Opening Day looming, they are on the clock. Lindor was firm last week in saying that he will not negotiate in the regular season and that he is prepared to become a free agent if the season starter does not reach an agreement. Conforto sounded less resolute Sunday when asked about the possibility of trading for the regular season.
“Ideally I wouldn’t want to do that,” he said.
And it’s also clear that he’s finished speaking on the subject, aside from acknowledging that outreach conversations have occurred.
“At this point, I’m more or less focused on baseball,” Conforto said. “I’m not really interested in talking about the contract, it’s between my family, my agent and the team. I want to be as focused on baseball as I can right now. “
Lindor could face a multi-year contract in excess of $ 300 million, putting him in the same stratosphere as players like Mookie Betts and Fernando Tatis Jr., who have received gigantic extensions last year. According to an industry source, the Mets’ offer to Lindor at this time has been less than $ 300 million, but the team is willing to raise it to that level. It’s unclear what Lindor has been looking for, but it’s believed to be in excess of $ 300 million. Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported that the Mets are willing to increase their initial offer.
If the $ 150 million six-year contract George Springer signed with the Blue Jays over the winter is used as a barometer, the 28-year-old Conforto, who is three years younger than Springer, could be seeking $ 200 million with his next business. Conforto is represented by Scott Boras, who generally pushes his clients into free agency.
So keeping Lindor and Conforto could cost the Mets $ 500 million.
“Those two guys are great players, so you definitely want them close and on the same team as them,” Jacob deGrom said after throwing 4 ² / ₃ scoreless innings in the Mets’ 6-2 win. “So it’s definitely something I’m rooting for.”
DeGrom, who finalized his own contract extension (five years, $ 137.5 million) just one day before his imposed deadline for the season opener in 2019, was asked what advice he would give Lindor and Conforto.
“Whatever you decide to do, take it as your decision and if you accept or leave an offer, it is your decision and you accept it from there,” deGrom said.
Would DeGrom sign the extension if given a new chance?
“Honestly, I haven’t thought about it,” he said.
Conforto, who was selected and developed by the Mets, has expressed his desire to remain with the only organization he knows. He reiterated that stance on Sunday, to some extent.
“This is where I came from,” he said. “It’s something that we as players think it’s great to spend your entire career in one place, but there are a lot of other factors involved and I’m not going to go too far, in depth. I’ve been pretty open about it before, but I like the people I come to work with every day. It has been a good place for me. I have grown a lot. I have learned a lot and I love the city ”.