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Mets 13, Cardinals 2
AB R H BI
Lindor SS 5 3 4 1 2B, SB
Speaking of great seasons happening under the radar, Francisco Lindor is also on pace for a six-win season, which would be his second straight five-win campaign, his second in three seasons with the Mets.
Since being traded to the Mets before the 2021 season, Lindor is the 15th-best position player in baseball, coincidentally in a cluster with a bunch of shortstops. Lindor had the worst season of his career in 2021, his first in Queens, and was still a three-win player in 125 games. Last year, he was a great player who played in 161 games for a 101-win team and everyone but Lindor seemed to get credit. This year he’s played 122 of 124 games for a team on which everyone else has missed time. I’m not sure what he has to do to win the hearts of Mets fans, but the ones I hear from are pretty eager to see him traded.
There’s a pretty obvious parallel here, coincidentally also from Puerto Rico. Before the 2005 season, the Mets signed Carlos Beltran, then one of the ten best players in baseball, to a seven-year contract. Beltran had an off year in ’05, still a three-win season but below expectations, and never really recovered his standing. A bounceback campaign worth eight wins in 2006, arguably an MVP-worthy season, is remembered only for a called strike three that October.
During his six-plus years with the Mets, Beltran made five All-Star teams, had six three-win seasons, and despite missing significant time to injury during the back part of that time was still a top-ten player in the league, producing more than 30 WAR, under the contract. Even in his departure he produced value, traded straight-up for Zack Wheeler, who would be worth nine WAR to the Mets before leaving New York as a free agent.
As best as I can tell, Lindor’s reputation in New York was set by that underwhelming debut, and like Beltran, his excellent second season was erased by a disappointing October. Beltran never was embraced by Mets fans despite being a superstar who out-performed his contract. I wonder if Lindor is going to be stuck on the same path.