In January, the New York Mets acquired superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, together with pitcher Carlos Carrasco, from the Cleveland Indians, surrendering young shortstops Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario plus two prospects.
Lindor only has a year left of team control for the Mets, which is 2021. After the season, he will become a free agent and can negotiate with any team… unless the Mets can hammer out a contract extension. A deal has to get done before the start of the season, as Lindor prefers to focus on playing once the calendar flips to April.
If there is someone who knows and understands the situation in which Lindor is currently involved, that’s Mets’ legend Mike Piazza. In 1998, when he was in his prime, he landed in Queens via trade, just like Lindor. And, like the shortstop, he was a few months short of free agency when he did.
Piazza wasn’t convinced of making New York his long-term home at first, but the city grew on him. He, according to MLB.com’s Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo, adjusted his view to see the whole scenario as a challenge.
And, just a few weeks after the 1998 season, Piazza committed his future to the Mets in a seven-year, $91 million contract. He went on to become a Hall of Famer.
Piazza visited the Mets’ complex and talked to Lindor
“It wasn’t until about the end of August where I started really saying, ‘I can do this. I’m meant to be here, and I have to follow through on this,’” Piazza recalled Monday from Port St. Lucie, Fla., during his annual visit to Spring Training. “Things worked out.”
Piazza had a conversation with Lindor in the Mets’ complex. The former catcher recalled that the shortstop would have to get comfortable in the city and with the team before committing his future.
“There’s a spiritual component to it,” Piazza said. “[Lindor] has got to go out and get comfortable, and the fact that he has such a good team around him is important as well. For me, there was also the human element. … We were at a time with the team where we knew they were trying to win, so we were going to put some pieces in place to try to make that happen. So that’s my only advice for him: Just go out and play. Go out and play, put your numbers up, and if it’s meant to be, he’s going to be here.”