SAN DIEGO – It was a fleeting moment, easy to miss amid the pre-game hype, but before the Mets play against the Padres on Thursday, the San Diego chapter of the highly exclusive Guys With $ 300 Million Contracts Club held a meeting with their special guest.
Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor, Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and Padres third baseman Manny Machado huddled on the pitch, chatting about who knows what – everything they do. want. Combined for nearly a billion dollars worth of mega-deals, they can relate to each other in ways that hardly anyone else can.
Machado, in fact, even advised Lindor as he negotiated his $ 341 million contract extension with the Mets during spring training.
“He’s been doing it for a long time, longer than I have,” Lindor said. “He set the bar. He set the bar with the way he played, the gold gloves and then free agency. So we definitely had a chat when I was going through my process. I congratulated him on that. he followed his process and he said the same tome. “
Lindor and Machado are both “Florida boys”, as the former puts it. Lindor went to high school in the Orlando area, Machado is from Greater Miami. They played against each other back then – Machado is a year older – and against each other in All-Star teams as the major leagues.
On Friday, in one of the most tense moments of a possible Mets loss, with the Mets down one point and Lindor in third and no one away, he and Machado had a playful moment. Machado jokingly tried to push him off the base. Lindor burst out laughing.
“I’m a happy person,” Lindor said. “I enjoy every time I’m on the pitch.
Machado signed a 10-year, $ 300 million contract – the first free agent contract for each of that number – with the Padres ahead of the 2019 season.
“I respect him,” Lindor said. “He’s a good player. I only wish him the best.”
Lindor hasn’t known Tatis, 22, for such a long time, but they are linked by virtue of their contracts.
When Tatis signed a 14-year, $ 340 million extension in February, he set a shortstop record. A month later, on the eve of Lindor’s deadline for agreeing to the terms, the Mets convinced him to sign by offering an additional $ 1 million.
“The numbers are very similar,” Lindor said, “but they are two different contracts.”
Tatis has an average annual value of $ 24.3 million. Lindor is $ 34.1 million. Tatis was several years away from free agency. Lindor was six months away from free agency.
While the comparisons are natural due to the money and franchise shortstop status, Lindor said he and Tatis are “completely different players” who “just play the same position.”
He enjoys watching Tatis up close, however, like most other baseball players.
“He can do things that I can’t do and vice versa,” Lindor said. “When we were on the bases I was just saying [to] Tatis, he’s wilder than me. I am a little calmer when it comes to handling the basics. He’s a very exciting player to watch, and he’s more daring. It’s fun to watch it. It’s fun to watch him do his things. “
The San Diego series arrived just as Lindor started to get hot after two months of funk to open the season. Before coming into play on Saturday, he enjoyed a seven-game streak in which he hit 0.400 with an OBP of 0.419 and a hitting percentage of 0.600. That included two of the Mets’ three hits in a loss on Friday.
Manager Luis Rojas attributed the improved performance to Lindor by using “most of the ground” – the spreads – and no longer trying to shoot every throw.
“I’m very encouraged. I feel great. I’m finally having some success on my side,” said Lindor, who increased his slash line for the season to 0.217 / 0.308 / 0.321. “Hopefully I will continue like this to help the team win, get W’s on this road trip and when we get home maybe I won’t be booed.”