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WASHINGTON — Francisco Lindor celebrated his new Mets contract extension in subdued fashion at the team hotel, calling friends and family, resisting an urge to yell and scream.
That was late Wednesday night after Lindor agreed to a 10-year deal worth $341 million, the third-richest pact in MLB history. A day later, the vibrant 27-year-old shortstop, nicknamed “Mr. Smile,” let his emotions flow on a Zoom call to discuss his extension.
“To the fans of New York, here we go,” Lindor said. “Here we go, baby!”
Lindor thanked team owner Steve Cohen and wife Alex, team president Sandy Alderson and agent David Meter for navigating a process that took him to the brink of his imposed Opening Day deadline to negotiate an extension. Otherwise, Lindor had indicated he would head to free agency after the season.
The sides closed the gap in the waning hours. The Mets had been offering $325 million over the 10 years. Lindor had countered with $385 million over 12 years. Lindor cited his dinner with Cohen last weekend at spring training as helping finish the deal.
“It helped because we got a sense of where we both were,” Lindor said. “I never drew a line in the sand. It gave us a sense of where we were to Steve and it gave us a sense of where he was. He’s all about winning and I think we both won with this. Both sides are happy, in a good friendly zone, and I can’t wait to be stuck to his hip for the next 10 years or 11 years.”
Lindor, now signed through 2031, was asked what he envisions of himself at the end of that contract.
“I’ll be a bad mother-effer,” he said.
After missing most notably on free agents George Springer and Trevor Bauer over the winter, the Mets closed the deal with Lindor, who had arrived with Carlos Carrasco in a deal that sent Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez and two prospects to Cleveland.
It leaves the Mets with a new face of the franchise — at least to join Jacob deGrom.
“[Lindor] is a winning player,” manager Luis Rojas said. “He’s going to be here for that period of time, it’s going to give you that sense of winning mentality.”
Lindor received vocal support from teammates in recent days, most notably from Pete Alonso, who suggested the star shortstop was worth $400 million. That gesture wasn’t lost on Lindor.
“I thank him, because he didn’t have to go out there and say that,” Lindor said. “To say it in front of people, that’s special. It takes a lot of courage and I thank him for that, for his kind words and his turn will come and he’s going to get a lot of money.”
Mike Trout and Mookie Betts are the only MLB players to have received larger contracts than Lindor. Before the 2019 season, Trout signed a 12-year contract worth $426.5 million with the Angels. Last summer, Betts received a 12-year deal from the Dodgers worth $365 million.
Lindor’s deal, in terms of overall dollars, surpasses the 14-year contract worth $340 million that Fernando Tatis Jr. received from the Padres this winter. But Lindor indicated it wasn’t a goal of his to top Tatis, who had the previous largest deal for a shortstop.
“At that point I was just happy for my agent to continue to get more and more,” Lindor said. “But deals are different. I was just happy my agent called me and said, ‘Hey, 341, how does that sound now?’ I mean, it sounds very good, let’s do it.”
The shortstop market next winter could include names such as Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story and Javy Baez. And Lindor said there was a sense of obligation to set the bar high for the next wave of free agents.
“Players did it for me,” Lindor said. “They set the path for me and that is why I am getting paid what I am getting paid today, because all the players set the path for me. You have [Albert] Pujols, [Manny] Machado, [Carlos] Beltran. You have the players that set up this market for me and it was my turn to set up the market for the next players.”
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