When it comes to the Mets’ disaster of a season so far in 2023, there are a lot of things we could point to as a reason. Edwin Diaz’s injury hasn’t helped. The pitching staff (mainly the starting rotation) hasn’t performed well, and the roster as a whole can’t seem to get rolling all at once. But could we also point to the bet Francisco Lindor made with Jeff McNeil last year that he hasn’t yet paid up on?
In May 2022, Mike Puma of the New York Post caught Lindor making a promise to McNeil if he won the batting title:
Francisco Lindor told Jeff McNeil in the clubhouse that he would buy him a car if McNeil wins the batting title. I told Lindor I have got it on tape. Said Lindor: "I didn't say what kind of car."
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) May 6, 2022
Lo and behold, Jeff McNeil finished with a .326 average. That was not only the best mark in the National League, but all of Major League Baseball. Upon earning his four-year, $50 million extension over the offseason, we heard he was still waiting for his double-play partner to pay up.
We’re now past the All-Star break and that remains true. While the Dodgers were in New York, the Mets’ shortstop sat down with Mookie Betts on his Bleacher Report show, On Base.
They talked about a bunch of things, one of which being that Lindor would join the Home Run Derby should he get invited in the future. Betts also brought up the car bet with Jeff McNeil. Here’s part of the conversation:
Francisco Lindor owes Jeff McNeil a car for winning the batting title last year.
So when’s he getting it? pic.twitter.com/8iDjXdPyAo
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) July 15, 2023
I know it’s all fun and games and they’re just joking around, but this has gone on a little too long. Francisco — just buy McNeil his car so we can stop talking about this, yea?
Buying a car isn’t a cheap endeavor, assuming Lindor is going to buy the second baseman an actual automobile. But then again, the 29-year-old is making more than $30 million per year and is currently playing under the richest contract in franchise history. Even with a newborn to provide for, he can spare a little cash to pay up on this bet.
Is this causing some bad karma with the baseball gods and playing a role in torpedoing the Mets’ season? You’ll see that reasoning on Mets Twitter and probably just about any other social media platform (especially Facebook, it’s the Wild West over there). Could it be causing tension in the clubhouse?
That’s anyone’s guess right now. However, it’s hard for me to think that a playful bet like this — between a couple of multi-millionaires — is causing a rift in the locker room. Call me naive, but I’m just assuming everyone can be adults about it. I mean, it’s not like Lindor has once tried to back off on paying up.
But still, it’s been too long. Just get him a car and let’s move on. I thought we’d see some kind of fun thing happen in a Port St. Lucie parking lot during spring training, but that wasn’t in the cards. This seems more annoying as it continues to drag out longer, though. Especially since the Mets are seven games under .500, 18.5 games out of first place, and 8.5 games back of the final NL Wild Card spot.