Lindor-palooza has apparently begun. News broke last night that the Mets have offered Francisco Lindor a 10-year, $325 million extension to his deal that ends after the season. Lindor is apparently after a 12-year, $385 million deal. As always, both sides are making noise about negotiations being cut when the season begins Thursday. But these things have a way of getting done during the season.
It’s certainly exciting for Mets fans to hear that their team wants to hang onto one of the game’s brightest stars, and is going to act more like their neighbors to the North, the Yankees, or at least like the Yankees used to be, instead of something that would have been managed by Wile E. Coyote.
It’s a big chunk of change for sure, though the best shortstop in the game tends to get paid a lot. Lindor has been that over the past five years, in terms of fWAR. He’s also got a personality big enough to light up Times Square. Ten years is a long time, and would take Lindor, 27, into his mid-30s, when he likely won’t be playing shortstop anymore. But Mets fans won’t care about that, and it doesn’t appear that the Mets themselves do either.
While Lindor is well within his rights to pursue the number and years he wants, it’s hard to imagine how he’ll get a bidding war going should he head to free agency next winter. How many teams are willing to shell out a $300 million-plus contract? Four? The Dodgers already have two shortstops in Cory Seager and Gavin Lux, though never rule it out with Clayton Kershaw’s $30 million coming off the books. The Yankees haven’t shown a willingness to pay that more than they already do. Same goes for the Red Sox, who would have given that contract to Mookie Betts if they had any desire to do so. Maybe the Giants? That’s about it.
However, both the Mets and Lindor should contrast that with the buzz coming out of another supposedly big-market team, as the Chicago Cubs apparently offered Anthony Rizzo a couple of movie passes and a Juicy Fruit as his extension. Rizzo reportedly was offered a five-year, $70 million contract, and he unsurprisingly has told the Cubs that offer will fit nicely in their colon and will enter the season on the brink of free agency.
Rizzo, 31, is older than Lindor, and the Cubs are clearly wary of how much and how long to pay a player in his 30s who’s had back issues. Then again, they’re wary of paying anyone more than toll-road quarters (unless they’re working on buildings around the park. Then they’ll pay anything). Rizzo isn’t quite as good as Paul Goldschmidt, who takes home $26 million a year on average. But he also is way better than half as good, as the Cubs have made him feel. Both sides are probably pointing to Joey Votto’s contract ($22.5 million on average) for polar opposite reasons. It’s yet another genius slice of PR for the Ricketts family and a feel-good moment for Cubs fans in a winter full of them.
Same story for Freddie Freeman in Atlanta, who is still waiting for his deal after his 2020 MVP year after also being the heart and soul of the team for most of the decade.
All sides are playing chicken with the new CBA, which will kick in god knows when and might make these kinds of contracts even more untenable. Or more possible. No one has any idea.
At least the Mets are acting like they’re supposed to be and worrying about the CBA details later. How refreshing.
Well they nearly did it, but as Sisyphus would tell us all, the closer you come to getting that boulder to the hilltop, the pain of watching it roll back down again is that much greater.
The Sabres were a minute and a half away from breaking their 17-game winless streak. They went into the 3rd period beating the Flyers 3-0. But they gave up three 3rd-period goals, and then lost in overtime on an Ivan Provorov winner.
Certainly a loss to the Sabres would have sent the Flyers into full meltdown, after what they’ve already been through this week. In fact, a 9-0 and 8-3 losses to the Rangers combined with a loss to the Sabres in a span of just a couple weeks probably would have forced Gary Bettman to stop their season in an act of mercy. Guess that will have to wait.
As for the Sabres...some things you just turn your head away and try not to contemplate any more deeply. The despair can consume you.