What would you do for the people you love? Would you sacrifice your life? Would you cause great pain or sorrow to yourself if it meant no harm was done to them? Would you play second base for the New York Mets?
I’m not quite sure “love” is the appropriate word to use when describing how Javier Baez feels about Francisco Lindor. It’s a strong word. Maybe respect is better?
Love does factor in between these two, however. Prior to the trade deadline, when asked about his future, Baez said the Mets are the one team he would sign with this winter as a second baseman. The reason is how much he enjoyed playing beside Lindor in the World Baseball Classic several years ago.
Francisco Lindor could help attract more players to the Mets
Baez’s admiration of Lindor could help the Mets keep his big bat this winter. The club went out and added him to the roster in July to help fill the current void at shortstop in Lindor’s absence.
Possibly not the ideal fit for the Mets with Jeff McNeil still on the roster and the presence of Robinson Cano lingering, there’s a lot to dislike about trying to cram Baez onto this team.
This doesn’t even include how much he strikes out—a factor sure to upset plenty of Mets fans.
Baez is surely not the only player out there who would enjoy coming to Flushing because of Lindor. We didn’t get a taste of it this offseason because the trade that brought him to Citi Field happened well after many free agents had already signed. This winter, as the Mets look to potentially upgrade the infield, Baez and a few others may have some extra motivation to sign with the blue and orange if only to be teammates with Lindor.
The team already has a leg up on Baez. Expected to play shortstop and then possibly second base or even third base when Lindor returns, he might be the answer to what they’re looking for on the infield.
The Mets franchise has a lot of leverage in future free agent classes
Despite the poor results from Lindor this year, he is a well-respected player in the league and viewed by many as a leader. I think that’ll only increase as time goes on. He’s at the age in his life and career where athletes tend to grow up a little more. Lindor has all of the makings to take the next leap forward.
He’s not the only guy associated with the organization with some leverage over the rest of the league either. Owner Steve Cohen will undoubtedly intrigue free agents and possibly even future trade candidates willing to waive their no-trade clause, ten-and-five rights, etc. in order to play for him. Money talks. Everyone who has picked up a baseball in their life knows Cohen has more of it than any other owner.
New York isn’t always the most appealing place to be. As northeasterners, I think we sometimes forget a lot of athletes grow up in small towns or farms or perpetually humid conditions. We all have our individual preferences for where we want to work. Max Scherzer, for instance, preferred to be traded to the West Coast—eventually landing in Los Angeles to play for the Dodgers.
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Having a shortstop and an owner that can work to help attract players is a nice feature for the Mets to have. Baez, whether you like him or not, could be lured to the Big Apple because of the Lindor/Cohen combo. Others could come to feel the same way.