The Mets don’t have a Javy Baez issue. They have a Francisco Lindor issue.
Baez is an accidental tourist. He will be a Mets footnote. A guy who will really learn what boos sound like at Citi Field when he shows up in his next team’s uniform.
Lindor is furniture. He has a 10-year contract that does not even begin until next season. And that 10-year contract is central to why Lindor is the focus. When he was traded to the Mets, Lindor had no control. He lacked a no-trade clause.
But he did have control beyond this season. And it would not have taken Ph.D dissertation-level research to know that if you accept the mega-contract to be The Man here, what the downside is: A passionate fan base holding you accountable if things go wrong. The boos are going to rain — and so are calls to sports talk radio, critical columns and voluminous nasty social media posts.
Dave Winfield signed a 10-year contract here and was booed despite being a great player most of his stay. Alex Rodriguez came with 10 years left on his deal and won MVPs here and was booed. Giancarlo Stanton also came with 10 years left on his deal and has been the main Yankee target in bad times. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera helped bring championships and got booed. Patrick Ewing. Phil Simms. Brian Cashman, midway through this season, was enduring endless calls for his firing; the front office equivalent of being booed.
I actually think booing is stupid. Imagine being at your job and having someone boo a misstep. I know, the players make so much money. But no matter how much you earn, you wouldn’t want someone booing you at work. This, though, is a fight I will not win. Fans feel if they pay for entry that booing is the acceptable way to voice displeasure. It is part of the deal, here more than in other places. And taking on a fan base is like fighting ocean waves, you will not win.