PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets infielder Francisco Lindor flashed his trademark smile when asked about the new contract fellow National League shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. signed on Monday with the San Diego Padres.
"Tatis got an outstanding deal," Lindor said after his first day of spring practice with the Mets. "I'm extremely happy for him. He deserves it. His family deserves it. And that shows that the game is headed in the right direction.
"I'm excited to watch him play for the next 14 years. It'll be fun to play against him. I've never had the chance to play against him."
Tatis signed a 14-year, $340 million deal with San Diego after just two seasons in the big leagues while the new 27-year-old star of the Mets is entering his final season before free agency. He's looking for a long term deal of his own.
"I think it's too early," Lindor said of contract talks with New York. "There is mutual interest. I've never been shy about an extension. Cleveland did what they had to do. They couldn't keep me. They weren't in a position to keep me."
Lindor was acquired from the Indians in January, immediately becoming the face of the franchise. He'll make $22.3 million in 2021 via the arbitration process and is likely to remain a Met long-term, something team brass indicated would be a priority when they traded for him. But Lindor reiterated his desire to keep baseball away from business.
"As a player, we have a duty, and a duty to show up and win," he stated. "It would be unfair for me and the rest of the team to have ongoing conversations on an extension, and we show up on Opening Day and our mind is somewhere else."
Due to the pandemic, Lindor is just now meeting everyone associated with his new team, from ownership on down. It's why talks about an extension feel premature. But, as he indicated, he also doesn't want it to be a focus as the regular season begins.
"Talking about an extension is [something] you want to talk about but at the same time [something] you don't want to talk about," Lindor said. "It's inevitable. You can't not talk about it."
Separating the game from the business of it is always a challenge, according to Lindor. For him, it hasn't been as difficult as it might for some. This spring may challenge that as he and the Mets attempt to get a long term deal completed before opening day.
"When you can separate all those things correctly, life is good," Lindor said. "When everything blends in, you run into trouble.
"I'm blessed, I'm able to separate things from my job."