Steve Cohen, Francisco Lindor dine amid Mets contract talks

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JUPITER Fla. — Will dessert be something from the $300 million menu?

As Francisco Lindor and the Mets discuss a contract extension, the All-Star shortstop had dinner with team owner Steve Cohen on Saturday, an industry source confirmed. Cohen joked about the dinner on Twitter, saying “the ravioli wasn’t very good” and offering that Lindor ordered chicken parm.

It’s perhaps the latest reason for optimism that Lindor and the Mets will finalize a deal before the player’s imposed Opening Day deadline. Lindor has said he will end contract negotiations with the Mets and head to free agency after the season if he doesn’t receive an extension by Thursday.

Cohen, in another possible sign the sides are close, on Friday began crowdsourcing fans on Twitter, asking them what they thought Lindor would accept.

The Mets have been willing to go beyond $300 million in a long-term extension. In the last year, Mookie Betts and Fernando Tatis Jr., have both signed extensions well north of that figure that will keep them long term with the Dodgers and Padres, respectively. Betts received a 12-year contract worth $365 million. Tatis signed for $340 million over 14 years.

Mets
Steve Cohen and Francisco Lindor
Corey Sipkin, Getty Iamges

The 27-year-old Lindor has been impressive this spring with a .365/.431/.615 slash line with four homers and 14 RBIs in 16 games while displaying his Gold Glove defense at shortstop.

“On the field, very professional — a competitor,” manager Luis Rojas said before the Mets lost 10-2 to the Marlins in an exhibition game Sunday. “That is the big word that describes him right there, ‘competitor.’ This is a guy that shows up to the ballpark and he’s thinking of ways to beat the other team. He’s thinking of ways of getting everyone better.

“That’s the thing with Francisco is he’s such a good player, but a special thing is that he makes everybody better too. It starts when he is in the ballpark, he is working on that. Whether it’s a conversation, some ideas he is bringing to the coaching staff, whether he is on the field during drills, he keeps everyone on their toes.”

Lindor arrived this winter with Carlos Carrasco in a trade that sent Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario, Isaiah Green and Josh Wolf to Cleveland. With the Indians, Lindor last season turned down a reported contract extension worth at least $200 million.

“He’s been very professional about it,” Rojas said. “We have heard nothing other than baseball in the clubhouse.”

If Lindor were to test free agency he would face a market that could potentially include Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story and Javy Baez, among others.

Lindor isn’t the only player with whom the Mets are negotiating an extension. The team has also talked with Michael Conforto, but there is less optimism within the organization that a deal will be completed. Conforto, who can become a free agent after the season, has said he “ideally” would like to complete extension talks before Opening Day, but hasn’t set a hard deadline like Lindor.

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