A promise is a promise, and New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor kept his word to teammate Jeff McNeil and rewarded him for winning the 2022 National League batting title – even if the payoff took a while.
During the 2022 MLB season, Lindor told McNeil that he would buy him a car if McNeil led the National League in hitting. He did just that, edging Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers .326 to .325.
“We were talking about the batting title, I don’t know if he was upset that day or something,” said Lindor in Oct. 2022. “It’s rare when McNeil’s upset. And I say, ‘If you win a batting title I’ll get you a car.’ That was a long time ago, and everyone has made sure I haven’t forgotten. Everyone is making sure I buy him a car. I will get him a car. I didn’t specify what car it was.”
Spring training 2023 came and went, no car. The MLB season got under way, and McNeil still didn’t have his new wheels. In July, while appearing on Bleacher Report’s “On Base with Mookie Betts” podcast, Lindor did affirm his teammate would get the car, but did not specify exactly when.
After the Mets’ 2023 season came to end, Lindor was asked again about his duty to McNeil and said this offseason it would finally get done.
“It will happen — it’s just a matter of time,” Lindor said. “In the offseason I have got nothing but time, so it will happen.”
On Monday, McNeil’s agent confirmed to Newsday’s Tim Healey that Lindor did finally pay off his side of the agreement and gifted McNeil a new Ford Bronco.
The big Mets news of the week: Jeff McNeil finally got a car from Francisco Lindor, per Garrett Parcell, one of McNeil’s agents at Paragon Sports.
In May 2022, Lindor offhandedly promised McNeil a car if he won the batting title. Then McNeil did.
Now, he gets a new Ford Bronco. pic.twitter.com/8wuH28hGYX
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) November 20, 2023
Did Lindor’s delay in paying up put a curse on the 2023 Mets? It’s possible.
The Mets finished well out of the NL playoff picture with a 75-87 record despite having the highest payroll in the majors ($331M). A year after winning the battle title McNeil’s average dropped from .326 to .270 and he played the final few weeks of the season with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Lindor’s average dropped 16 points to .254 and he recorded 17 fewer hits than he did in 2022.
(So maybe it wasn’t a curse and it was just the injury-riddled, underachieving roster contributing to the disappointing season.)
The lesson is, as always, keep your word and don’t delay in paying your debts.