Opening Day Age: 27
2020: 60 g, .258/.335/.415, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 1.8 fWAR
Qualifying offer: Eligible
The biggest move made this offseason was New York, slyly, shifting four players to Cleveland for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. The move shifted New York from a team in the middle of the National League to one of the true contenders heading into the 2021 season. Carrasco will play into this as a top of the rotation arm, but the true upgrade is the addition of Lindor.
Before the shortened 2020 season, Lindor amassed five straight seasons with an fWAR of 4.0 or higher. Offensively, Lindor tapped into his power with three seasons of 30 home runs or more, while seeing his walk rate creep closer to 10 percent. Per Baseball Savant, Lindor’s exit velocity has remained consistent – between 88 and 91 – but his hard-hit percentage has jumped from 33 percent to 40 percent, solidifying at 41 percent.
Defensively is where the Mets are viewed to receive the biggest upgrade at shortstop, with Lindor being one of the best defenders in the league. An elite defender, Lindor has amassed defensive runs saved marks of +11 in 2018 and +13 in 2019, and an Outs Above Average of 5 in 2020. All positive marks for a great defender, and should be a modest upgrade over Andres Gimenez and a huge upgrade over Amed Rosario defensively.
Prediction: 10-year, $300 million with the New York Mets; opt-out after year four.
Ultimately, the Mets should mimic the Manny Machado contract here. Lindor is still just 27 years old, in the prime of his career at a prime position. On the field, I see no reason to think he won’t be one of New York’s best players – offering an elite switch-hitting bat near the top of the order while providing a calming presence defensively in the field.
The Mets also have to consider the off-field factor here. Lindor, nicknamed “Mr. Smile,” is the type of player who can be argued as the “Face of Baseball” for his play and infectious charisma. Moving from Cleveland to New York will open up more opportunities for Lindor to sell his brand, as well as the Mets to offer a superstar player a platform in one of the biggest media markets in the country.
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For that, Francisco Lindor is the number one player for the Mets to extend this offseason.