Pete Alonso wants Mets to open the checkbook for Francisco Lindor: ‘Pay him 400′ million

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NEW YORK — Francisco Lindor received a polar bear-sized endorsement — his biggest one yet — from a teammate who wants the Mets to open their checkbook and give the shortstop whatever he wants.

“Pay him 400,” Pete Alonso said Tuesday when asked about the Mets’ reported $325 million offer for Lindor.

Does Alonso think Lindor is a $400 million player?

“Absolutely,” he said. “No question about it. Not only is he a superstar on the field, he pays attention, he works hard, he cares about his teammates. Not only does he have the quantifiable numbers of a superstar, he has the X-factor. What he brings to a clubhouse is tremendous and can’t be measured, along with his superstar talent.

“I hope they pay him $400 million. He’s worth every penny of what he decides.”

Lindor, set to become a free agent after the 2021 season, is playing hardball with the Mets — a team he joined 12 weeks ago in a trade with the Indians. The Mets offered him a 10-year contract extension worth $325 million late Monday night, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The superstar shortstop, and his agency SportsMeter, counteroffered with a 12-year, $385 million deal, per a source. As of Tuesday night — nearly 24 hours after the team’s offer became public — the Mets and Lindor were still in a logjam over the magic number.

According to a source, both sides have set opening day as the deadline to accept a deal. That gives them roughly 24 hours to reach an agreement on the extension. If they don’t, Lindor has said he won’t negotiate past March 31, and he would be primed to enter free agency.

“I’ve always known he was an unbelievable player, but the amount of intangibles that that man has is special,” Alonso said. “Also, he’s young and what he can bring to a club for a very, very long time, I can’t even imagine what the potential he could help out for the future. Pay him $400 million. Absolutely.”

Mets manager Luis Rojas echoed Alonso on Tuesday. In the short time Rojas has gotten to know Lindor, the shortstop has made a huge impression on the club, his teammates, the coaching staff and the front office. He’s detail-oriented, a student of the game, advises his teammates daily, and has one of the best work ethics on the team.

Billionaire owner Steve Cohen, who dined with Lindor on Sunday, surely understood he’s a franchise cornerstone, now and in the future, with his $325 million offer. But does the hedge fund guru with a net worth of $14 billion like him enough to jump when Lindor asks?

“Lindor is a heckuva player and a great guy,” Cohen tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “I hope he decides to sign.”

Lindor arrived to the Mets with a distinguished resume. A four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, the shortstop has a .285 /.346/.488 career slashline with an .833 OPS. The 27-year-old has a history of durability – he led the league with all 60 games played in last year’s shortened season — and brings marketability and charisma to Queens.

All of that aside, Mets fans may turn on the superstar this season if he doesn’t sign a contract extension. When asked if he thinks Lindor could be booed by fans at Citi Field this year, Rojas said: “I don’t know.” But the skipper described Lindor as “solid” and professional on and off the field, and said ultimately fans will “appreciate the way he goes about the game every day.”

If Lindor does enter free agency, he’ll join a robust shortstop class that features Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Corey Seager and Javier Baez. Among that group of quality players, Lindor is still the only shortstop who stands out as a foundational piece — which is something the Mets have sorely missed since captain David Wright retired.

“I respect the hell out of him,” Alonso said. “Not only does he work hard, he helps other people get better. He just elevates everybody around him. It’s unbelievable. I can’t speak enough good things about him. I can just tell he’s damn special.”

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