Make no mistake, Francisco Lindor is off to a horrific start in the first 22 games as a Met. But is all the booing about the $341 million?
Francisco Lindor had Mets fans in his pocket from the moment he arrived here in a trade with the Cleveland Indians.
We’ve got this thing now – step aside because the NL East is ours for the taking – will Opening Day ever come soon enough?
We recall reading all the welcoming posts on social media, and when Steve Cohen removed the drama by inking Francisco Lindor to a deal that keeps him in a Mets uniform for the next ten years, the clamor of hope became even louder.
Oh, there was the matter of $341 million too, but few, if any, raised even a whisper about the size of the contract.
In fact, many fans and reporters were saying it’s almost a steal, and if the Mets didn’t pay Lindor (now), another team would willingly pay him even more as a premier shortstop on the open market in December.
Of course, that was then before Francisco Lindor sported a .171 BA, one home run, and three RBI, with a caught stealing in his lone attempt, twenty games into the season.
We hear the talk, and we hear the boos directed at Lindor as the new Jason Bay poster boy, and if that’s the price that $341 million brings, then so be it.
What we don’t hear much of, though, is any of Lindor’s teammates coming to his defense with words, even if they don’t mean anything, in his support…
And do you want to know why?
Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone
It’s because, except for Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis, the entire Mets team has their own issues to deal with and they all suck with the bat this year, and some Mets players (pitchers excluded) suck even more than Francisco Lindor.
You know the story; I’ve recited it ten times at least.
Last in the major leagues in runs scored, fourth from the bottom in OPS, last in home runs, last in base hits, and second from last in base-on-balls (Source: ESPN.
Before you think it, some will point out the Mets have played fewer games due to all the postponements at the beginning of the season. But even if that were not true, when a team is down at the bottom, how much further up would they be, hitting as the Mets are?
Francisco Lindor Can And Will Do The Climb
Francisco Lindor has a career average of .283 and has averaged 28 home runs with 84 RBI and 20 stolen bases. Over his last three full seasons – 2017, 2018, 2019 – he hit 33, 38, 32 home runs, respectively. He is 27 years old.
Is it a wise bet to say Lindor will not hit those numbers by the end of the year?
Similarly, is it a wise bet to say, Dominic Smith, who was widely mentioned in the top ten to win the NL MVP this year, will hit only six home runs in 2021 – because that’s the pace he’s on?
Or that Jeff McNeil will not finish at or near .310 for the season (he’s at .231 now)?
Keith Hernandez, (below) in 1983, the year he was traded to the Mets from St. Louis, hit .306 for the year – but – did you know that in July, he batted .178, with 18 hits in 101 at-bats?
More so than pitchers, hitters tend to be streaky with periods of hot and cold. At the moment, no one is colder than Francisco Lindor.
From the nadir Lindor is at now, his climb up, if you look solely at the numbers, seems to be almost impossible.
For example, and roughly speaking, Lindor has 14 hits in 82 charged at-bats (not plate appearances) and is batting .171. He plays every day, so let’s assume he’ll have 650 at-bats by the season’s end.
Now, to reach .300, Lindor will need to go 195 for 650. This means he will need 181 hits (195-14) in his remaining 568 at-bats (650-82), a .319 clip for the remainder of the year.
That is very doable for a player the caliber of Francisco Lindor.
Lindor Is Only One Of Eight Taking The Field Tonight
But it can’t be done if he, or any other player, is constantly looking over his shoulder, pressing with a self-imposed need to bat .547 in May. Ditto for Dominic Smith, Jeff O’Neil, Michael Conforto, James McCann, and the rest of the gang.
Remember, the team sucks at the plate, not just anyone player.
Unless it really is about the money, and if that’s true, I’m afraid Mets fans may not be all they’re cut out to be.
And because I hope that none of you who are booing Lindor will one day look back, as I do now, ruing the days when I booed Mickey Mantle for striking out when he was pulling down the then outrageous salary of $100,000 a year. Imagine that – Mickey Mantle.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
No. It is about a player with diminished skills acting like he is still an All-Star! My Note: David later added, “Yes, just like Jose Reyes was at 27”.