One of the biggest discussions this off-season for the New York Mets has been Francisco Lindor. The Mets acquired the superstar in a trade with the Cleveland Indians earlier in the off-season. The main reason this deal was completed, was because Lindor is in the final year of his contract and the Indians weren’t able to extend him. Since the Mets acquired Lindor, there has been lots of buzz about whether the Mets will extend him, and what that extension would look like.
How Many Years Will He Get?
Lindor, 27, clearly has many years left in his career. Although he is coming off a rough 2020 season, he’s had quite the impressive career. He has a lifetime .285 batting average, 138 career home runs, and has a career .833 OPS over six seasons. The shortstop was an All-Star in 4/5 eligible seasons, with the only one he missed being his rookie year. He has finished as high as fifth in the MVP voting, as well as finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2015. With that kind of resume, Lindor has proven himself to be a valuable player. For reference, Mookie Betts’ career line through his first six seasons in the majors were: .301 AVG, 139 home runs, and a .893 OPS. Betts signed a 12-year extension when he was 27. The comparisons between the two are endless, but does Francisco Lindor get that long of an extension?
Recent history has shown that teams are more likely to extend players for more than ten years. However, a common theme with recent extensions (Stanton, Votto) is that the players tend to fall off towards the end of the contract. Do the Mets opt for the safe route, and extend Lindor for 7-9 years? Or do they continue the trend and extend him for 10-12? I believe they will go right in the middle, and give him a 10-year extension. That would bring Lindor to his age 37 season, where he can most likely finish his career with the Mets on a small 1-2 year contract.
How Much Money Will He Get?
Analyzing Mookie Betts’ contract is the best way to estimate the money Lindor will get. Mookie Betts signed a 12-year, $365M contract- an AAV of $30.4M. Factoring in that Lindor has had numbers slightly less flashy than Betts, that will probably bring him around $28-29M. Considering that he just signed a 1-year deal to avoid arbitration worth $22.3M, he will most likely want more than that. Time for another Mookie Betts comparison. Betts signed a record-setting 1-year, $27M contract to avoid arbitration last year, just months before signing the 12-year extension. Taking that into consideration, and the fact that Betts had slightly better career numbers than Lindor, my guess is Lindor will get somewhere between $26-28M a AAV.
How Will The Deal Be Structured?
In an age where most contracts are front-loaded or back-loaded, it is pretty definite that Lindor wont be making the same amount of money every year. Considering the Mets also need to extend Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard, it is likely they will all get a bulk of their extension money in different years. It’s hard to project what year Lindor will get the most money, but he most likely will get it within the first two-to-three years. The best way to structure a contract extension like this is to pay the player over the AAV for the first few years, and then continuously pay less as the end of the contract nears. That way, when he is at the end of his contract, he won’t be making as much money when he may not be playing as well.
My official prediction for what the Francisco Lindor extension is a 10-year $280M contract, with is being significantly front-loaded. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets 10/300, because $300M is a contract most superstars yearn to have. Regardless, an extension of Francisco Lindor would be in the best interest of the Mets and Lindor. Not to mention it would be incredibly fun to watch Lindor play shortstop at Citi Field over the next decade.
Photo Credit Scott Thompson Yahoo! Money