I’ll assume that Sandy Alderson has a hand in the negotiations, or lack thereof, with New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto, and the obvious negotiations with Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. So, who should get signed first? To me, the answer is simple.
Michael Conforto is a home-grown Met. I saw him play in Binghamton, and he was a good guy then in the clubhouse, yes, I was in there a few times, and he is still that same guy. He has stated publicly that Scott Boras works for him, so the player has paved the way for easy negotiation. If Conforto wants $200 million for seven years, then offer that and settle for a bit more if that is what it takes. Make him feel wanted. In his six full seasons there, he has 118 home runs and 341 RBI besides being a top-notch right fielder and sometimes center fielder. In 2019, Conforto made three errors in right field, none in center, and that’s the last time he has made an error in the major leagues. Last year the outfielder hit .322. Is he now a .300 hitter? Probably not, but he could be a .280 hitter. Who else on the Mets, outside of Pete Alonso, can you pencil in for 25 home runs a season, sometimes more? Who else has proven they can play in New York and handle everything that comes with that with relative ease? Conforto shouldn’t have to sell himself further on who he is. Still, this guy is willing to negotiate in-season if necessary.
Francisco Lindor has been a great player. His statistics with the New York Mets are the same as mine. If Steven Cohen wants a bargain in a gamble that Lindor fits in, neither is going to happen because Lindor will give no discounts. This guy wants to be paid. He already has a new sneaker deal, so New York is already paying off for him before he has ever taken a regular-season at-bat for them. His previous statistics should be a guide, what he might do, but don’t pay him for past performance. Playing and succeeding in New York is quite different from Cleveland. That’s just a fact. If Cohen has all the money that we think he has, he can afford to play a wait-and-see game. If Lindor has a great year, great, you pay him top dollar. If Lindor doesn’t have a great year, Alderson gets his bargain. If you can afford the player, you can outbid other teams for him if necessary. Don’t give in just because you made a big trade for him. That’s done. Signing him to justify that trade isn’t the answer. It should be about how he performs on the field. See how he does. He’s not coming cheaply either way.
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As of right now, the Mets are seemingly doing this backward. Maybe Mets general manager Zack Scott can update the fanbase? There’s time to course-correct this. If you lose Conforto for nothing but keep Lindor, how will that look? Will you be a better team without your right fielder? No, he hit .333 in the World Series with two home runs. He can handle the pressure of New York City. What else does he have to prove to this team? Rest assured, if the Mets lose him, they will fill his spot with a lesser player. The Mets have proven that to their fanbase this offseason.