For the sake of Francisco Lindor and his legacy, he should be more than happy that the Indians and MLB only played 60 games last year.
Francisco Lindor was very candid with New York Mets reporters (via WKYC) when speaking about his struggles in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. The entire major league schedule, Indians encluded, only played in 60 games last year. A number that was too high for Lindor, who admitted to gassing out at the end of the season.
The former Indians’ All-Star shortstop admitted to not hitting the weight room and letting his physical conditioning suffer. In an exact quote from the WKYC article, written by Ben Axelrod, Lindor said;
"So yeah, I just got tired. I didn’t give my best in the weight room. It showed"
Lindor doesn’t remember what he hit last year, .258 for the record, but he’s right when he says that it “wasn’t good”. To be fair, he just had seasons where he hit .273, .277, and .284 previously. Not that far off, which means one of two things; either the margin of bad-to-good is ludicrously small in the minds of major-league players, or Lindor is admitting the last four years have been, at best, not great as well.
The 2020 postseason was far less kind, watching him hit just .125 for the series. Lindor has a post-season average of just .263 for his career.
Lindor emphasized that he did put in the work in the offseason but that no amount of preseason work would matter at the end of the season, going on to say;
"…there’s nothing I can do in the offseason to fix that last week (of the 2020 season) — it’s doing it during the season this year to make sure that stretch [doesn’t] happen."
There are two takeaways here, either he’s so out of shape that a 60 game schedule just whopped his behind or, and this is my theory, he got lazy.
There are a lot of apologists out there making excuses for him, which is to be expected. For as long as there have been media there have been those excusing the bad behavior of the rich and famous. Just so we’re clear, Lindor’s big “sin” was getting lazy. A former Cleveland Browns player killed a guy. In the grand scheme of things, Lindor’s not even close to being a bad dude. Let’s be clear.
Lazy isn’t going to get you put in jail. Yet, when we’re talking about giving a guy $300 million across 10 years, well, the last thing you want to hear is that the guy, even if only for a few months, was lazy.
Remember what he said.
"I didn’t give my best in the weight room."
Lindor has a fresh start in New York but if he was willing to make excuses for why he didn’t put in the work in a shortened season, one in which he could’ve goosed his numbers, then what’s to make anyone believe he won’t do it in a longer season? I applaud Lindor for his honesty, but now he has to prove to the city of New York that he can in fact be their next great star and won’t just tap out again in New York, as he did in Cleveland, when things get too hard.
Hopefully, he’s not just another former Indians mid-field great who goes to the Mets to fade away into nothing.