A promise is a promise, and New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor kept his word to teammate Jeff McNeil, rewarding him for winning the 2022 National League batting title — even if the payoff took a while.
“We were talking about the batting title, I don’t know if he was upset that day or something,” Lindor said in October 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 affirmed that his teammate would get the car, but he did not specify when.
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
After the Mets' 2023 season came to end, Lindor was asked again about his duty to McNeil and said it would get done in the offseason.
“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 paid off his side of the agreement, gifting 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 ($331 million). The year after he won the batting 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.