The Mets' playoff chances are pretty much obsolete at this point with just 11 games left to play.
Prior to the Mets' series finale with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday, shortstop Francisco Lindor spoke to reporters about a number of topics, including the future of his teammate and good friend Javier Báez.
As Báez gets set to become a free agent after the season ends, Lindor was asked if he thinks team owner Steve Cohen has enough money to keep them both with the Mets in the long-term.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, of course," said a chuckling Lindor.
Cohen's first big signing came on the extension he dished out to Lindor on the eve of the 2021 regular season. This contract was for a walloping 10-years, $341 million, which kicks in next year.
As for Báez, he could possibly draw a long-term deal that pays him $25 million annually, or according to a source: he may receive a hefty one-year contract to prove his new-found disciplined approach at the plate is sustainable across a full season.
Since joining the Mets at the July 30 deadline, Báez has been a game-changer in a multitude of ways. And he has also been a monster offensively, slashing .304/.377/.556 with a .933 OPS, nine home runs and 19 RBIs.
Báez has shown a lot more patience at the plate since coming to Queens, drawing 12 walks in 39 games, as opposed to the 15 he had in 91 games with the Chicago Cubs.
Although he strikes out a ton, his K-percentage is down as well. With the Cubs, it was at 36.3%, and with the Mets it is 27.2%. While this is still a high-rate, Báez makes up for it with his electricity at the plate, in the field and as a base-runner.
After trading 2020 first-round draft pick Pete Crow-Armstrong to the Cubs in order to land Báez, the Mets must do everything they can to retain the 28-year-old given the impact he has made on this club in only a short period of time.
A Disappointing Finish
As the Mets sit seven games back in the NL East with virtually not enough time to make up enough ground, Lindor addressed the team's second-half collapse.
"Upset. I don't want to say upset actually. It's frustrating," said Lindor.
"[We have] A couple of days left, we would love to be in the playoffs," said Lindor. "How realistic am I? I really don't know but I know we're not close, you know, but we're not gonna quit.
"We're gonna continue to play the game as hard as we can to try to come up with some W's and see what happens at the end of September and early October."
As everyone knows, the Mets held onto first place for three months and finished the first half of the season with a 48-40 record.
However, they have since gone 25-38 and have steadily plummeted in the standings, which has all but disintegrated their once strong postseason odds.
"I came here to win, so it sucks that we're not in that position where we are in first place," said Lindor. "Yeah, that sucks for sure, but I think we still have some fight left. We've been in September and still been competing, but it sucks that we are not in first place."
When tracing back to the root cause of the Mets' second-half woes, one major reason their season was derailed is due to Lindor's oblique strain suffered in the first game after the All-Star break.
This injury caused him to miss five weeks, and by the time he returned in late-August, the Mets were six games under .500.
On the bright side, Lindor has improved at the plate, despite a dreadful start to his first season as a Met. While his overall numbers don't look great: .229/.324/.402 with a .727 OPS, 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 115 games, he slashed .333/.489/.500 in July and has had a strong September with .271/.373/.586, six home runs and 15 RBIs.
"I mean, I really do coming off this, after the first half, I felt like I was heading in the right direction, I worked hard," said Lindor on his second-half.
"Unfortunately, it sucks I got hurt. But yeah, I haven't read the numbers, but I feel better at the plate," said Lindor. "So, I don't know, I mean I just feel good I feel like I'm helping the team, whether it's with a quality a bat, or driving in runs, which I didn't do the first two, three months of the year."
Despite a bounce-back stretch, Lindor still takes accountability for the Mets' disappointing finish to the 2021 season.
“I put a lot on me,” said Lindor.
“I felt like we had a really good team coming into this year,” Lindor said. “We have collapsed, and I haven’t performed, especially. I know if I would have played a little bit better, we could have won at least five to seven more games, which [means] we would be fighting for first place right now.”
Although his first season as a Met didn't go as planned, Lindor showed signs of promise, including a three homer game to beat the Yankees.
Lindor is under contract with the Mets for the next decade, and the hope is that the end of his 2021 campaign is only a sign of what's to come in his career with New York.