Francisco Lindor reflects on his time in Cleveland, trade to Mets ahead of Progressive Field return

Francisco Lindor always expected to call Cleveland home for the remainder of his career, but that, of course, did not turn out to be the case.

As it became more and more clear that a long-term deal wasn’t going to be reached, the superstar shortstop ended up being flipped to the Mets in an offseason blockbuster trade alongside Carlos Carrasco.

Now, four years later, Lindor is set to return to Progressive Field for the first time as an opponent as New York takes on the American League Central-leading Guardians in a three-game set.

“It’s different,” he said pregame. “I walked in through a different route, I usually come in through the players parking lot but this time I came through a tunnel. I missed it, this was my home for a while and it feels great to be here for sure.”

Lindor put together many memorable moments during his six years in Cleveland.

After tearing it up in the minors, he took the league by storm as just a 21-year-old in 2015, finishing second in AL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .313 with 12 homers, 22 doubles, and 12 stolen bases across just 99 games.

He went on to crack the All-Star team the next five years, took home two Gold Gloves at shortstop, two Silver Sluggers, and finished in the top-10 in AL MVP voting four times over that span.

But the thing that Lindor says he’s most proud of during his time in Cleveland is all the winning those teams did.

“There’s nothing better than winning,” he said. “I know we didn’t finish the ultimate goal, but just the experiences of winning and pouring champagne on each other and creating those memories with teammates, family, and the front office was a great experience.”

While the 30-year-old admitted it was difficult leaving Cleveland at first, he’s enjoyed his time in the Big Apple, and he’s hoping to be able to put on a good show for the fans this week.

“It was difficult knowing I’d have to come back here,” Lindor said. “Whenever you leave a place you’re comfortable and a place that you love and appreciate everybody from the top down it’s hard.

“But it’s a business and I understand their decision and I’m happy they sent me to New York. Steve and Alex [Cohen] welcomed me with open arms and the whole organization has been great by me and my family which is really important to me.”