Francisco Lindor went 0-for-3 on Wednesday afternoon, dropping his season batting average to .233 and his OPS to .710.
Those numbers aren’t much different than his disappointing debut season with the Mets, when he his .230 with a .734 OPS over 125 games and was the face of the team’s disappointing season given the $341 million contract extension he signed before the year began.
But with a full season under his belt and a full offseason in his relatively new surroundings, Lindor talked about being more comfortable heading into 2022, and many expected the four-time All-Star to return to form. Instead, his fielding, usually always reliable, has been the worst of his career, based on fielding percentage and defensive runs saved, and his bat continues to lag well behind his career numbers with Cleveland.
It leaves BT to ask the question: is Lindor on his way to becoming a noted New York bust?
“What needs to be at least broached here…we’ve had a lot of guys roll through this city. Carlos Beltran went through this his first season…he was scorned, and then became a legitimate star for the Mets,” Tierney said during Thursday’s show. “To my recollection, and this includes every sport. If you have a bad first year, I cannot come up with any other player in my lifetime that had a bad first year, that was in his prime, thought to be franchise altering, a true superstar…and in year two, his OPS is worse.”
Alex Rodriguez had a “down year” for his standards when he arrived in New York in 2004, logging his worst career numbers in the home run and OPS department since 1997, but won an MVP the following season. Beltran was below league average in terms of OPS+ in his first Mets season, then finished fourth in the MVP voting in his second year in New York. Tierney says he has seen players struggle to begin their time in the Big Apple, but those who have what it takes to make it make their adjustments by their second season.
Those who don’t, never do, and he fears Lindor could wind up in that latter group if he doesn’t turn things around in 2022.
“I know it’s still early, but he’s trending in a very dangerous direction,” Tierney said. “Consecutive sub-par seasons, and then eventually fulfilled the lofty expectations. By my count, there’s nobody.”
Still, Tierney believes Lindor will find his way and his 2022 campaign will wind up being a productive one. But right now, his strikeout percentage is the highest of his career, and his slugging percentage is the lowest. His OPS+ is actually a decent 112 because of the league-wide drop in offense, but still nowhere near Lindor standards.
“I am in the corner that Lindor will find a way to play well,” Tierney said. “It’s early, but if this lingers, if this doesn’t change within a month, this guy is gonna be target No. 1, because this offense isn’t good enough to win without him being a star.
“It’s starting to become a bit of an issue here…I don’t think that’s unfair. I really don’t.”