New Mets owner Steven Cohen bonded with Francisco Lindor, which along with $341 million led to a team-record 10-year contract that starts in 2022.
“I’ve had a few dinners with Francisco, and he’s a special guy,” Cohen said during a news conference Monday to announce the agreement.
“He’s got a winning personality. He’s a leader. They love them in the clubhouse. He brings intangibles that you need if you’re going to win championships and obviously a great ballplayers besides. And so this is a special guy. I think I’m good friends with him. We text all the time,” he said.
New York acquired the four-time All-Star shortstop from Cleveland in January. He was signed for $22.3 million this year and was eligible for free agency after this year’s World Series.
Lindor set a deadline of last Thursday — the scheduled opener at Washington — for a deal, and the agreement came together the night before. The Mets’ season-opening, three-game series was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the Nationals.
Lindor is from Caguas, Puerto Rico, and he also bonded with Cohen’s wife, Alexander, who is of Puerto Rican descent and grew up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.
“My in-laws came from the same hometown as Francisco,” Steve Cohen said. “And so there’s a real connection there. And so Francisco came over to the house. There was lots of discussion about the neighborhood and restaurants and the food and so immediate connections.”
Cohen’s wife is assisting with the transition to the Mets.
“I know Alex has reached out to his fiancée,” the owner said. “She’s in New York, and she’s trying to make it a little easier for her to be comfortable in New York City. So it’s working out pretty well for everybody so far.”
The owner termed his Spanish “pretty lousy.”
“I walk around my own house sometime, and I don’t know what they’re talking about when they talk in Spanish,” he said. “I’m not good at it.”
A hedge fund billionaire who bought the Mets last November, Cohen is eager for the start of his first season.