Francisco Lindor Agrees to $22.3 Million Deal with New York Mets

Francisco Lindor has Mets his match…

The New York Mets have agreed to one-year contract with the 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop to avoid salary arbitration.

Francisco Lindor

Lindor, who’ll earn $22.3 million, was acquired from Cleveland Indians last week along with starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco in a blockbuster trade that excited Mets fans.

New York parted with young infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario plus two minor leaguers in a deal that signaled the club is serious about paying for star players and contending immediately under new owner Steve Cohen.

The next step will be trying to keep Lindor beyond this year. The four-time MLB All-Star shortstop said he’s not opposed to signing a long-term contract with the Mets. He said he wouldn’t want to negotiate after the start of spring training, though.

Lindor had a down year at the plate during the coronavirus pandemic-shortened season. He batted .258 with eight homers, 27 RBI and a .750 OPS while starting all 60 games and earning just more than $6.48 million prorated from his $17.5 million salary.

Michael Conforto has also agreed to a deal with the Mets…

The 27-year-old half-Puerto Rican professional baseball outfielder will get $12.25 million in his final year before potentially becoming a free agent.

Conforto, who turns 28 in March, has become a steady and productive staple in the middle of New York’s dangerous lineup. He batted a career-best .322 in 54 games last season with nine homers, 31 RBIs and a .927 OPS. The slugging right fielder also scored 40 runs, played solid defense and was selected second team All-MLB. He made $2,962,963 prorated from an $8 million salary.

Conforto was drafted 10th overall by the Mets in 2014 out of Oregon State and helped them reach the World Series as a rookie the following season. The 2017 All-Star can become a free agent after the upcoming season and is represented by Scott Boras. Tthe Mets have said they’re interested in talking to Conforto about a long-term contract — and he sounded open to the idea. But this late in the game, reaching an agreement before he hits the open market could prove challenging.

Edwin Díaz has agreed to $7 million in his second year. Seth Lugo agreed to $2,925,000.

The hard-throwing Díaz was so awful in 2019 during his first season with the Mets that he lost his job as closer and got booed repeatedly at Citi Field. He got off to a rough start again last year but rediscovered the nasty fastball-slider combination that helped him lead the majors with 57 saves as a 2018 MLB All-Star for the Seattle Mariners.

The right-hander finished 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA and six saves in 26 appearances. He struck out a whopping 50 batters against 14 walks in 25 2/3 innings, reclaiming his ninth-inning role. Perhaps most important, he gave up only two home runs after serving up 15 in 58 innings the year before.

Díaz, who turns 27 in March, made $1,888,889 in prorated pay last season from his $5.1 million salary.

Lugo wound up back in an injury-depleted rotation last season because the Mets needed help there. The versatile right-hander prefers to start but has been more effective as a reliever the last few years. He went 3-4 with a 5.15 ERA and three saves in 16 games, including seven starts.

The 31-year-old Puerto Rican baseball player, a 34th-round draft pick out of Centenary College in Louisiana, earned a prorated $740,741 from his $2 million salary last season. Until the Mets finish assembling their pitching staff, it’s uncertain whether Lugo will be in the bullpen or rotation to begin the season.

Cleveland Indians Trade Francisco Lindor to New York Mets

Francisco Lindor is headed to the Northeast…

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball player, nicknamed “Paquito” and “Mr. Smile,” has been traded by the Cleveland Indians along with pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets, who have a new owner willing to spend at baseball’s highest levels.

Francisco Lindor

“They did not come cheaply,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said. “What we’re trying to do is create a new reality rather than deal with perception.”

The cash-strapped Indians sent Lindor, a four-time MLB All-Star shortstop — and one of baseball’s best all-around players — and Carrasco to the Mets for infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario, right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene — a move Cleveland hopes will keep it competitive and capable of ending baseball’s longest World Series title drought.

Dealing Lindor, who’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2021 season, was inevitable for the midmarket Indians, who are unable to compete financially with MLB‘s big spenders and dropped roughly $30 million in dealing two prominent players and fan favorites.

“These are people we care about, not just players, and guys that loved the organization and have great memories here,” said Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, who said he was in tears when he spoke with Lindor and Carrasco. “Trades like this are really tough. But it’s the right thing to do.”

For the Mets, landing Lindor is a home run and another major move by hedge fund owner Steven Cohen, who bought the team on November 6 from the Wilpon and Katz families and has pledged to increase spending.

One of his next big-ticket moves figures to be signing Lindor to a long-term contract, something the Indians couldn’t do. Alderson said he hasn’t yet had any discussions with Lindor’s agent.

“We acquired Francisco because of his present ability and the possibility that he could be a Met long term. There’s no guarantee of that. It’s something we will approach in the next few weeks,” Alderson said. “At this point, we felt comfortable giving up the group of players we did for both Lindor and Carrasco. … We gave up a lot of control for short-term control, but I think we’re comfortable with that and what we might be able to do going forward.”

Lindor can affect the game with his bat, glove and legs. A two-time Gold Glove winner, he’s a career .285 hitter and has averaged 29 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 steals in his six major league seasons — all with the Indians, who drafted him in 2011 and developed him.

He has also been the face of the Indians franchise, with an infectious smile and joy for playing that has made him one of Cleveland’s most popular athletes. But he’s gone now, leaving the Indians without their best player and the team’s fans grumbling about owner Paul Dolan.

Carrasco is one of the game’s best comeback stories, overcoming leukemia to become one of the AL‘s steadiest starters. The 33-year-old has an 88-73 career record with a 3.73 ERA.

With an abundance of young pitchers, including Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, the Indians were in position to move a player of Carrasco’s caliber.

He can be replaced. Finding someone to fill Lindor’s shoes will be much tougher.

Lindor had $6,481,481 in prorated pay from a $17.5 million salary last year.

Carrasco is signed at $12 million in each of the next two seasons, part of a deal that includes a $14 million team option for 2023 with a $3 million buyout. The option would become guaranteed if he pitches in 170 innings in 2022 and is found to be healthy for the 2023 season.

New York’s payroll is approaching the $210 million start of the luxury tax.

“It’s a significant demarcation,” Alderson said. “I wouldn’t say that it’s a line that cannot be passed.”

Cohen is hoping to turn around a franchise that has not won a World Series since 1986. He fired general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, brought back Alderson as team president and hired Jared Porter from Arizona as GM under Alderson.

Carlos Carrasco Finalizes $47 Million Deal with the Cleveland Indians

It’s a done deal for Carlos Carrasco

The 31-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher has finalized his $47 million, four-year contract with the Cleveland Indians, dating back to December 6.

Carlos Carrasco

Carrasco’s $14 million club option for 2023 under his new deal with the team would become guaranteed if he pitches 170 or more innings in 2022 and is expected to be healthy for the following season.

Carrasco’s contract includes $37.25 million in new guaranteed money. It keeps his $9.75 million salary this year and calls for $10.25 million in 2020, which had been the option price of his previous deal. The agreement adds salaries of $12 million in 2021 and ’22 plus the new option year.

His 2020 salary would increase by $2 million for a Cy Young Awardthis year, $1 million for finishing second or third in the voting, $750,000 for fourth or fifth, and $500,000 for sixth through 10th, as long as he receives at least two votes.

For the remainder of the contract, salaries could escalate by up to $3 million using the same formula.

He would get a one-time assignment bonus if traded, $3 million if dealt before the end of this season and $1 million if traded after the season.

Carrasco won 35 games over the past two seasons and is a core member of one of baseball’s best rotations, which could change if the Indians trade either two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber or MLB All-Star Trevor Bauer.Carrasco went 17-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 30 starts last season for the AL Centralchampions, finishing with a career-high 231 strikeouts as the Indians became the first team to have four pitchers to fan 200 in the same season.

Detroit Tigers Designated Hitter Victor Martinez Registers 2,000th Career Hit

And the hits just keep coming for Victor Martinez

The 38-year-old Venezuelan baseball player, a designated hitter and first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, reached 2,000 career hits on Friday night.

Victor Martinez

Martinez, heard the crowd roar and felt his heart swell, as he picked up the milestone hit on the same field where he began his MLB career, against the franchise that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela.

Detroit’s switch-hitter singled in the second inning off Cleveland IndiansCarlos Carrasco to reach the plateau. After reaching first base, Martinez received a lengthy standing ovation from the large Cleveland crowd, fans that adored him during his eight seasons with the Indians from 2002-09.

Martinez hugged Detroit first-base coach Omar Vizquel, his teammate in Cleveland and a fellow Venezuelan, before tipping his cap to the crowd. Players on both benches applauded and the game was briefly halted to acknowledge the feat.

“It’s special to have it done here,” Martinez said following the Tigers’ 11-2 loss. “For me, it was even better. Nothing against the Indians, I feel like it’s where everything started for me. I will always remember this day, until I die. What the fans did to me with that ovation. It made me feel so proud and so good that they stand up for me. I just want to let them know too that I will always have the Indians in my heart, always.”

Martinez is the ninth active player to reach 2,000 hits, joining Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Matt Holliday and Jose Reyes.

To attain the milestone in Cleveland and with Vizquel, the career hits leader among Venezuelan-born players, at his side made it even more meaningful for Martinez.

“He congratulated me and told me it was awesome, and at the same time, I wasn’t hearing and stuff,” Martinez said. “It was a pretty cool moment.”

Martinez was a three-time All-Star with the Indians, who signed him in 1996. He broke down in tears when Cleveland traded him to the Boston Red Sox at the deadline in 2009 for three pitchers.

And although he’s had a long run with the Tigers, Cleveland will remain dear to Martinez.

“This is my seventh year in Detroit, but this was a place that I called home, and I’m always going to have Cleveland in my heart,” he said. “It was the team that gave me a chance to be a professional baseball player, gave me a chance to become a major leaguer. It’s a pretty special place.”

Martinez, too, is a pretty special hitter.

He entered the season with a .301 career average and the five-time All-Star has been one of the game’s toughest outs from the day he broke into the big leagues.

“There aren’t a lot of people who can say they got 2,000 major league hits,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He probably grinded out every single one of those at-bats to get those hits. It’s something he should be proud of.”