According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Cleveland offered the shortstop such a contract last spring even though he was looking for more than $300 million. That is apparently when the American League Central team "understood" an extension was not going to happen.
From Cleveland's perspective, this trade at least means it landed something in return for Lindor before he potentially departed in free agency following the 2021 season.
Still, it is shocking to see one of MLB's best overall players traded in the middle of his prime at age 27. It is even more shocking to see a contender make the trade after reaching the playoffs last year and not that far removed from an appearance in the 2016 World Series.
The move means Cleveland currently has the lowest payroll in the league at $22.95 million, which is less than some individual players make elsewhere, per Spotrac. That number will go up when salaries for players such as pitcher Shane Bieber are determined, but it is still stunningly low.
Cleveland's loss is New York's gain as the Mets landed a four-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover and two-time Silver Slugger who can anchor their infield defense and lineup as a power and speed threat.
The Mets missed the playoffs in each of the last four years, and Lindor is the type of generational talent who can help change that in 2021 and beyond if they sign him to a long-term contract extension.
Heyman suggested they are more likely to do so than Cleveland was following this trade.