Francisco Lindor, who Mets owner Steve Cohen rewarded with a 10-year, $341-million extension a little over a month ago, hasn’t hit a lick this season. In fact, the 27-year-old entered Thursday’s series finale in St. Louis in the midst of an 0-for-24 funk, the second-longest dry spell of Lindor’s big-league career following an 0-for-27 slide in 2016. Lindor extended his hitless drought to 26 at-bats before finally breaking through in the ninth inning Thursday, beating the shift for a two-out single off Cardinals reliever Jake Woodford.
A seeing-eye single to shallow right field wouldn’t ordinarily be a cause for celebration, especially for an established (not to mention exceedingly well-compensated) star like Lindor, but for the struggling shortstop, watching his grounder trickle past Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt for a base hit was a breath of fresh air.
“As soon as I hit the ball, I was just hoping that nobody caught it,” Lindor admitted after the game. “I’m working as hard as I can, day in and day out, to be the best player I can be.”
Lindor finished the afternoon 1-for-3 with the aforementioned single, three walks and a run scored as the Mets cruised to a 4-1 victory at Busch Stadium. A first-round pick of the Indians in 2011, Lindor has been a massive disappointment in his early Mets tenure, submitting a dreadful .163 average with 15 strikeouts and only one homer through 92 at-bats this season. Manager Luis Rojas even benched Lindor for the second game of Wednesday’s double-header, giving him a night to clear his head amid one of the worst offensive stretches of his career.
Whether he’s been overwhelmed by the bright lights of New York City or merely overlooking a mechanical flaw in his swing (the Mets fired hitting coaches Chili Davis and Tom Slater earlier this week), the Lindor we’ve seen this season isn’t the one we were promised when the Mets acquired him from Cleveland in a blockbuster trade this winter. Lindor hasn’t been worthy of his record contract to this point, but with 136 games left on the schedule, there’s plenty of time for him to change that narrative.