NEW YORK-- When the Mets signed Francisco Lindor to a massive 10-year, $341 million contract extension on the eve of the regular season, they envisioned him being at the forefront of the team's success over the course of the next decade.
On Sunday night, Lindor had his biggest game as a Met thus far, slugging three home runs, including the game-winner to power his team to a critical Subway Series victory over the Yankees.
And with that, Lindor officially produced his first signature moment as a member of the New York Mets.
When asked about Lindor's performance the next day, prior to the Mets' series opener with the St. Louis Cardinals, manager Luis Rojas said he believed this game could be a spring board for Lindor, and only the tip of the ice berg of what's to come in his time in Queens.
"Huge game, huge moment that last at-bat, but I think that Francisco has always felt that he is going to lead this organization, this team, to win a championship," said Rojas. "And everyday he shows up like that, regardless of the performance offensively. He shows up everyday and after the game he connects with the guys in there. He's just as positive as you can be, not because of his performance, It's just for everybody else, so we can keep moving forward whether we won or lost the game.
"Yesterday was a huge game, it was the best game he had as a Met and I think it means a lot to him," he said. "It's always good to have as a confidence booster standpoint to him, which is the area he has been having his struggles, so it could be a turning point to keep going forward."
Lindor had a rough start to his first season as a Met, which began with an underwhelming first-half, before he went down with an oblique injury in the first contest after the All-Star break, which kept him out for five weeks.
Upon his return, Lindor got off to a slow start in the final days of August, but has since turned things on at the plate in the month of September, with a .273/.377/.727 slash line, to go along with six homers and 14 RBIs in 12 games.
This version of Lindor that the Mets have gotten during this month is exactly what they had in mind when they locked him up to a substantial long-term contract. And now, he is starting to show them a glimpse of why he could be the star player that will lead them to a championship.
"Like I said last night, this is a special moment for him in New York," said Rojas. "I think he is going to have a special connection with the fan base here for years to come and he is going to lead this organization and this team to win a lot of games and hopefully championships too."
Above all else, Lindor officially won over the hearts of Mets fans last night, which is a good sign, as we wrap up year-one of this long-term relationship.
Nido Nearing A Return
Catcher Tomas Nido (left thumb sprain) has finished his rehab assignment and officially rejoined the Mets on Monday.
But according to Rojas, Nido will not be activated for tonight's game because today is a scheduled day off for him, after catching back-to-back games in Syracuse over the weekend.
The plan is for Nido to be activated on Tuesday, and resume his role as James McCann's backup for the remainder of the season.