Steve Cohen asked for help and we here at The New York Post are always looking to assist our troubled multi, multi, multi (imagine a bunch more “multis”) billionaires.
In response to an article that implied the Mets and Lindor’s camp were looking for avenues to bridge a gap in negotiations, Cohen replied: “I don’t see a lot of brainstorming going on over here.”
So let’s see if we can make a few suggestions. The Mets offered 10 years at $325 million. Lindor countered at 12 years at $385 million. I will offer some compromises. But let’s first stipulate a ground rule that this is about finding a path to getting this done, not arguing the wisdom of doing a deal like this. Once the Mets soared beyond $300 million with an offer that would take Lindor into his late thirties, they were signaling that they were casting aside a lot of history (and logic) in desire to do a deal.
Thus, if it is a deal both sides want, then how about 11 years at $341 million with two club options, the first for $25 million, the second for $19 million. Some thoughts on why these numbers, structure and why it can work for both sides:
— The $341 million would move Lindor past Fernando Tatis Jr.’s recently signed $340 million pact for the most ever by a shortstop and the third-largest ever behind Mike Trout ($426.5 million) and Mookie Betts ($365 million).
— The average annual value of $31 million also is a shortstop record. But I have heard the Mets’ offer had deferrals somewhat similar to those in Betts’ contract ($115 million worth). Depending how these are structured, they could take down the current day value, which would take down the annual value, which could be attractive to the Mets if they believe there will be a luxury-tax system in a new collective bargaining agreement after this year. For the tax annual value of a contact is used.
— The Mets must pick up the first option after Year 3 of the contract. If they pick it up, the pact would then be 12 years at $366 million or $1 million more than Betts’ guarantee. If they don’t pick it up, Lindor gains the right to opt out of each season from after Year 3 to after Year 7. If the Mets do not pick up the second option after Year 7, Lindor gains the right to opt out every season from thereafter.
— The contract would have a $22 million signing bonus and $29 million annually for 11 years. If Lindor opted out after three years, he would earn $109 million or $36.33 million on average, topping Gerrit Cole’s annual value record of $33 million.
The large signing bonus is an inducement of guaranteed money with concerns about a strike or a lockout after this season. It also somewhat front-loads the deal, giving Lindor at least consideration to opt out and see if he can find more than what is left after Year 3 or subsequently. But keep in mind the signing bonus can become even more of an inducement. For example, Betts’ signing bonus was $65 million.
— What is in this for Lindor? One of the largest contracts ever and potential mechanisms to escape if he doesn’t like it here or senses he can chase an even larger pot of gold. For someone who turned down a $200 million-ish offer a few years back from Cleveland, this is a reward for patience and betting on himself.
— What is in it for the Mets: The total guarantee is just $16 million more spread over 11 years than the current $325 million offer. The structure is reminiscent of what the Mets were willing to do with Trevor Bauer on a shorter deal — namely front-load an offer and provide an escape hatch to the player before the full term of the contract concluded. Even if Lindor left after three years, the Mets would be receiving three prime years while also gaining four years (this one plus the first three of an extension) to assess, for example, if Ronny Mauricio is ready to step in as Lindor’s successor.