Lost in all the hoopla that the Francisco Lindor 10-year, $341 million contract extensiÃ³n generated last week is the fact that the New York Mets still have some homework to do if they want to build a sustainable winning franchise.
Players such as Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Michael Conforto, just like Lindor before putting pen to paper, are scheduled to hit free agency after the season ends. For the Mets, the outfielder seems to be the next in line in extension talks, but so far, there just hasnâ€™t been to much progress to report.
While speaking with reporters via Zoom over the weekend, Conforto said that he wonâ€™t discuss the extension negotiations with the Mets publicly. The good thing is that, unlike Lindor, the outfielderâ€™s camp seems a bit more open to in-season talks.
â€œAt this point, Iâ€™m not interested in really talking about it,â€ Conforto said to MLB.com, referring to his conversations with the press. â€œRight now, Iâ€™m focusing on baseball. Iâ€™m focusing on getting ready for the Phillies.â€
The Mets will play their first game of the season today against the Philadelphia Phillies, and Conforto, who was one of the best and most consistent contributors last season, will be in the middle of the lineup.
The Mets need to pay big to retain their slugger
Confortoâ€™s next contract will surely surpass $100 million, and he is said to be seeking north of $200 million. For reference, fellow outfielder George Springer just got $150 million over six years from the Toronto Blue Jays.
He is coming off a season in which he hit .322/.412/.515 with nine home runs in 54 games.
The Mets just extended Lindor and will probably try to keep most of their in-house stars.
â€œI could see the team looking a lot different over the next couple of years, and I have thought about that,â€ Conforto said. â€œBut aside from that, I canâ€™t really speak to whether or not they can pay all those guys, or what our capacity is to keep everybody.â€
About Lindor, the Metsâ€™ slugger said that â€œhe got what he deserved. I think itâ€™s good for the game, a good sign of a player of that caliber being paid what he has earned over the course of his career. About the direction of the team, thatâ€™s huge to get a guy with the leadership, his all-around baseball ability and the head on his shoulders. I think itâ€™s a great sign for this team. Heâ€™s certainly a guy you can build a team around.â€