BOSTON — Francisco Lindor isn’t afraid to quantify how much his underachievement this season might have cost the Mets in terms of victories.
By Lindor’s calculations, the Mets would either be leading the NL East or close if not for his disappointing first season in Queens.
“I felt like we had a really good team coming into this year,” Lindor said before the Mets faced the Red Sox on Wednesday at Fenway Park. “We have collapsed, and I haven’t performed, especially. I know if I would have played a little bit better, I know we could have won at least five to seven more games, which we would be fighting for first place right now.”
Asked if he blamed himself for the team’s drop in the standings — the Mets were seven games behind in the division as the day began, after owning first place for three months — Lindor repeated the question.
“Do I blame myself?” he said. “Let me think about this. I put a lot on me.”
Later he added: “I came here to win, and it sucks that we’re not in that position where we are in first place. That sucks for sure, but I think we still have a little bit of a fight left in us, which I love that. Being September and still competing, it’s good.”
Lindor is enjoying a solid September following his return from a strained right oblique that cost him more than a month on the injured list. But the shortstop owned a .230/.325/.403 slash line overall entering play with 17 homers and 53 RBIs. His .728 OPS was within the average range for all MLB players.
But the Mets also signed Lindor to a 10-year contract worth $341 million before the season — an extension that doesn’t begin until 2022 — with the idea he would be better than league average at the plate.
“I felt really good coming off the first half,” said Lindor, who strained his oblique in the first game following the All-Star break. “I felt like I was headed in the right direction. I worked hard. Unfortunately it sucks that I got hurt. … I feel better at the plate. I haven’t really looked at the numbers, and if you look at our scoreboard, every time late in September the numbers don’t really change much.”
The Mets acquired Javier Baez at the trade deadline from the Cubs and have watched the All-Star infielder help carry the lineup over the past two months. Baez, an impending free agent, could be looking at a long-term deal in Lindor’s financial neighborhood this offseason. Lindor, a close friend, would love to see the long-term marriage occur.
“I know that Javy does fit in with what we’re trying to accomplish here,” Lindor said, adding that he hasn’t spoken to Mets owner Steve Cohen or team president Sandy Alderson about the matter. “He’s a winner. He plays the game as hard as he can day in and day out. He gives it his best, and he’s my boy, too, so that helps. I know what he’s capable of doing, we have all seen it. His approach has been outstanding and he definitely has helped us win a couple of more games in September as well.”