The New York Mets’ acquisition of Francisco Lindor gives them a premier clubhouse leader
Not only does the 27-year-old superstar shortstop immediately upgrade the Mets on the field, but Lindor brings a leadership aspect that certainly can not be overlooked.
Well known throughout the league by his nickname Mr. Smile, Lindor will bring a swagger and energy to the ballpark every single day that we haven’t seen since Jose Reyes was manning the shortstop position.
In Cleveland, Lindor was embraced by his teammates for his leadership qualities that include his infectious personality and not shying away from the big moment. Lindor also cherishes taking a large responsibility for the team’s performance on his shoulders, which is something many of his new teammates will appreciate.
Having a leader like Lindor in the clubhouse will always take some of the pressure off of the less experienced players such as Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith.
Lindor had begun establishing his leadership abilities at the tender age of 23 in a Cleveland Indians clubhouse that was coming off a disappointing World Series appearance.
Lindor took the bull by the horns and impressed not only his teammates by the way he carried himself day in and day out, but also Manager Terry Francona. During Spring Training back in 2017 Francona made note of those qualities to the press while watching Lindor come into his own at such a young age.
“He has a ton of leadership skills. As you accumulate experiences, I think those leadership skills become easier just to happen. I don’t think you’d necessarily tell yourself, ‘I’m going to be a leader.’ Those guys usually aren’t leaders. They may view themselves that way. The guys that it kind of comes naturally, those are the guys that probably carry the most weight.”
Now still at the young age of 27, Lindor has become one of the most highly recognized clubhouse leaders in the entire game of baseball. Lindor was also recently elected to the Executive Subcommittee of the Major League Baseball Players Association, which displays how highly respected he is amongst his peers.
On the field, Lindor is going to want the bat in his hand when the moment matters the most, as the dynamic Puerto Rican shortstop has displayed on numerous occasions he is not going to shrink when the lights are bright. That is a trait that is incredibly rare to find across the league and further speaks to his ability to carry a team on his back.
Let’s go back to the Indians’ historic winning streak in 2017 when Lindor’s heroics were on full display during their 22nd straight victory. Lindor who had been a catalyst during the Indians’ historic run came to the plate in the bottom of the tenth inning and pushed home the tying run and would eventually lead to an Indians victory.
Starting pitcher Josh Tomlin greatly appreciated Lindor’s late-game heroics and had high praise for the young shortstop after the wild ending.
“Right man, right spot,” stated Tomlin after the Indians’ 22nd straight victory. “When he came up, you just had this feeling that the type of year that he’s having and the type of player that he is, he’s going to put together a competitive at-bat and do everything he can to get that run in. And that’s what he did.”
Lindor embraces and consistently performs under pressure and that has been an attribute that had further solidified the respect of his teammates back in Cleveland. It’s one factor to embrace pressure and it’s another factor to both embrace the pressure and perform under the pressure, which is what separates Lindor from many of his peers.
Lindor now brings all of those immeasurable qualities that have made him beloved in Cleveland for many years to a New York Mets clubhouse that is looking to get over the hump and end a four-year playoff drought. The Mets certainly have a great mix of current players on the Major League roster, but Lindor brings a caliber of leadership that is almost comparable to the days the Mets had David Wright in the dugout.
For a team that has always found a way to not perform up to expectations over the previous several seasons, that narrative can shift when adding a talent like Lindor who will not only publicly hold himself accountable, but inside the clubhouse, he will make sure everybody is bringing the effort needed to win a championship day in and day out.
For at least the 2021 season, the front office has now added a dynamic player whose influence can become a significant asset in the Mets’ abilities to compete for the National League pennant. Francisco Lindor’s leadership qualities will never be overstated by any stretch, and when February rolls around Mets fans eyes will be fully opened to the type of infectious yet humble personality that will be taking command of the clubhouse for hopefully future seasons to come.