What's next for Mets after extending Francisco Lindor?

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Danny Abriano
·3 min read
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Noah Syndergaard, Francisco Lindor, and Michael Conforto TREATED ART
Noah Syndergaard, Francisco Lindor, and Michael Conforto TREATED ART

With the Mets inking Francisco Lindor to a 10-year contract extension that could keep him in Queens for the rest of his career, what's next on the agenda for Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson?

And how much might the Lindor extension impact who gets paid next?

Let's examine...

The Michael Conforto situation

When the Mets bid for free agent George Springer, they drew the line at five years and didn't budge when the Toronto Blue Jays offered Springer a six-year deal for $150 million.

SNY's Andy Martino reported at the time that the Mets chose the possibility of Conforto tomorrow over Springer today -- and that was after they had already traded for Lindor.

Since the Mets always planned to extend Lindor (even though it wasn't ever a given) and were budgeting for Conforto even after trading for Lindor, it stands to reason that the Lindor megadeal will not get in the way of one for Conforto.

And the Mets were right to prioritize Conforto over Springer.

But is a deal likely?

While they were negotiating with Lindor, the Mets made an opening offer to Conforto, but things haven't moved much. They simply wanted to handle one big negotiation at a time, which is understandable.

Unlike Lindor, Conforto and agent Scott Boras did not set a deadline of Opening Day to get a deal done, so the Mets still have time. But the closer Conforto gets to free agency, the harder it might be to lock him up -- especially if he's playing at the same level he was at in 2020.

What about Noah Syndergaard?

As the Mets were engaged with Lindor and Conforto, they checked in with Syndergaard's agents, too.

The above should come as no surprise since Alderson brought up Syndergaard unprompted during the offseason as a player he was interested in extending.

As was the case with Lindor and remains the case with Conforto, it makes all the sense in the world for the Mets to extend Syndergaard.

Complicating things a bit could be the timing as Syndergaard -- set to be a free agent after the season -- works his way back from Tommy John surgery. But he could be back as soon as May.

But Syndergaard is an ace-level talent in his prime, the free agent market for starting pitching next offseason is close to barren, and the Mets will likely have a need at the top of their rotation in 2022 and beyond.

If Syndergaard returns and looks like his old self, it would behoove the Mets to get something done quickly.

How is the payroll looking after the Lindor deal?

Factoring in Lindor's extension, the Mets have roughly $135 million committed to the payroll for the 2022 season -- and that's before factoring in raises via arbitration.

While things are starting to get tight, Cohen has been clear that he is willing to exceed the luxury tax. And exceeding the tax in 2022 (and perhaps 2023 and 2024 as well) is something the Mets might have to do if they're serious about keeping Conforto and Syndergaard in the fold.

Still, they -- like every team -- will have to be a bit careful when it comes to the number of huge deals they give out.

Yes, Cohen can afford it. But there is a limit for every team. And spending blindly is not a way to build a sustainable winner.

With that said, there is a very easy case to be made that the Mets should lock up Conforto and Syndergaard after extending Lindor.

The Mets' championship window is wide open, they have younger star players such as Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith, and Jeff McNeil making relative peanuts, and a developing farm system that should -- with the arrival of more inexpensive players soon enough -- make it easier for them to carry bigger salaries for the next few seasons.