Francisco Lindor is having a strange start to his 2022 season. He’s playing really well of late, on pace for some nice numbers by the end of the year, and actually right at or near where he should be. The New York Mets shortstop hasn’t hit for a particularly high average but aside from his first two big league seasons when he didn’t have much power either, Lindor has not been a guy anyone should suspect would hit much higher than about .275.
With Lindor, many have already been willing to declare his contract a bust as recently as last week. It’s only a bust if the Mets allow it to be.
Frankly, it’s impossible for him to live up to the $341 million deal he received from the Mets. It was a deal to ensure he’d stay in New York and whether he is one of the best shortstops in the game or not for most of the contract will have to wait another decade.
Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor will never live up to his contract but how could he possibly do so?
Lindor would have to do things he never has done before in order to have any shot at—in the eyes of many—meeting expectations. He is one of the league’s highest-paid player in terms of total dollar amount and average annual value. He didn’t just set a new record for the Mets franchise in total salary. He blew past it and never looked back.
For Lindor, the hardest part of his stay in New York might be overcoming what happened last year with arguably his shortest and fattest finger. I haven’t seen his hands up close to know whether or not the thumb he aimed downward so often at Citi Field is indeed fitting of this description. Nonetheless, he and the fans got off on the wrong foot last year.
It wasn’t just the interaction with fans that made year one so tumultuous. Lindor was getting booed long before anyone angled their thumb downward. He came to New York with high expectations only for them to soar further the second he signed an extension.
With great power comes great responsibility. With big fat contracts come enormous and often unfair expectations.
A bad start to his time with the Mets will prevent some fans from ever appreciating him. Their “I told ya so” attitude will get in the way of actually enjoying any achievements he may have. Like a crime, the answer is obvious when we follow the money.
If Lindor wasn’t making so much, he would undoubtedly get a pass when he goes hitless for a series. Instead, he is held to an unachievable standard that only becomes a burden on the Mets if they allow his contract to get in the way of improving their team. Based on how they handled the offseason, they won’t let that happen.