Francisco Lindor
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Lindor’s big night on Sunday was why the Mets gave him $341 million. 

To say this season has been a disappointment for Francisco Lindor would be a massive understatement.

Acquired from Cleveland before the season, Lindor was given the richest contract in franchise history to lead the team into a generation of success. He was the first blockbuster trade and signing of the Steve Cohen Era, making him an undeniable part of Mets history.

But his play on the field has left a lot to be desired. An injury at the wrong time — the same time the Mets were without Jacob deGrom for an extended period — ultimately led to the team overpaying for Javier Baez at the trade deadline and a sharp decline offensively that cost them the top spot in the National League East.

He came back, and is playing next to his good friend Baez in the middle of the Mets infield now as the team tries to hang around the wild card picture. And both Lindor and Baez have been swinging the bat better lately.

Big stage — Big performance

On Sunday night, Lindor provided the kind of performance Mets fans have been begging for since he was acquired.

Lindor’s three home runs were huge. He carried the team to a desperately needed victory over the Yankees in the finale of an emotional series.

There’s more to Lindor’s performance than his bat, however.

After his second home run, Lindor whistled at the Yankees’ dugout. He was clearly fired up for the Sunday night game, and his second bomb had his swag on top level.

But after Giancarlo Stanton hit a missile later, he made sure to let Lindor know the game wasn’t over as he passed the Mets’ shortstop during his trot around the bases.

Which led to the Yankees’ bench clearing. And what appeared to be the entire Yankees roster, including Gerrit Cole, chirping Lindor.

And there we saw Lindor, with Baez by his side, jawing right back.

The two, together, were taking the heat. And backing it up.

Both bullpens emptied but nothing more came from the exchanging of pleasantries. There was still game to be played.

And Lindor got one more plate appearance.

Three times

His first two home runs were from the right side. His third came from the left, and exited as quickly at the first two.

He flexed as he passed the Yankees’ dugout. And rightfully so.

The Mets dubbed Sunday night The Lindor Game on Twitter. And rightfully so.

The Lindor the Mets paid to lead the team had arrived.

It may have taken until Sept. 12 for it to happen, but it did.

Coming back strong

It may have waited until after Lindor and Baez — Baez more than Lindor — took heat for their Thumbs Down celebrations a couple weeks ago. That led to questions about leadership.

Sunday night erased those questions.

The Lindor we watched on Sunday night is the Lindor who is supposed to lead the Mets into the future of success. That’s the guy Cohen was willing to pay $341 million. That’s one of the most exciting players of his generation.

If we get more of that the rest of this season and in 2022, the Mets will be thrilled to have Lindor as their leader.

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.