The move was met with excitement from Mets fans, but the organization didn’t stop there.
Rather than letting Lindor’s contract play out and expire after the 2021 season, the Mets inked the 27-year-old to a massive contract extension—a 10-year deal worth $341 million.
It felt like a turning point for the club, but surprisingly, in his first year with the team, Lindor hasn’t been his best self.
To make matters worse, he just hit the injured list with an oblique strain.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 17, 2021
Should the Mets have buyer’s remorse?
Not yet, and we’re going to explain why.
He’s Still Adding Value Despite Having A Down Year
First and foremost, it should be made clear that Lindor has still been a net positive this season despite having a down year.
His current WAR of 2.1 puts him on pace for a WAR of 3.9 by the end of the year.
That’s definitely not the number the Mets had in mind when they committed to giving him an AAV of $34 million, but it’s still a mark that makes him an above-average MLB shortstop this season.
Lindor’s floor is very, very high.
In other words, even during his worst years, he will still be a productive player.
That’s due in large part to the value he adds defensively.
Yes, he only has a .702 OPS and a 96 OPS+ at the plate this season, but he has been great with the glove.
Francisco Lindor in the right place with the sno-cone catch! pic.twitter.com/22A7Ix1STr
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 16, 2021
Throughout his seven-year career, he has never finished a season with a defensive WAR below 1.1 (excluding the 60-game 2020 season).
That’s quite a feat.
Too Soon To Panic
Over a six-year sample size in Cleveland, Lindor proved that he’s a reliable, consistent, All-Star-caliber MLB player.
He appeared in 777 games for the Indians, and during his time there, he slashed .285/.346/.488 with a 117 OPS+ and an average of 5.8 WAR per 162 games.
Are we really going to let an 87-game sample size with the Mets overshadow a 777-game sample size with the Indians?
That would be silly.
Moreover, star players often need a year to adjust to their new club after a major trade or signing.
Take Manny Machado, for example.
The San Diego Padres coughed up $300 million to sign him to a 10-year deal prior to the 2019 season.
And his first season in San Diego was largely underwhelming—he batted just .256 with a .796 OPS over 156 games in 2019.
But since then, Machado has been one of the best players in baseball.
From the start of the 2020 season and beyond, he has managed a slash line of .285/.363/.523 with an OPS+ of 146, an average of 35 home runs per 162 games, and an average of 7.1 WAR per 162 games.
There’s no reason to believe that Lindor won’t be able to bounce back in a similar fashion.
At the end of the day, the Mets are a first-place club.
We can talk all we want about whether or not the Lindor signing is worth regretting, but New York is certainly satisfied with its current position.
And truthfully, the team probably doesn’t get there without Lindor.
If the Mets do crack the postseason, it will be interesting to see how Lindor performs.
He has been a solid playoff performer in the past—he has a career slash line of .263/.327/.463 in the postseason.
But first, he is going to need to recover from his oblique injury.NEXT: When Will Mets Fans See Kumar Rocker At MLB Level?