PORT ST. LUCIE — The Mets worked harder and were more serious in conversations to try to obtain Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor during the offseason, but they made numerous calls and exchanged several various concepts with the Red Sox about Mookie Betts, The Post has learned.
The Mets viewed Lindor more as a want, than a need because the team has grown more comfortable with Amed Rosario as its shortstop. But the Mets saw Lindor as enough of an upgrade that they diligently pursued him, even with permutations that had Rosario in some offers.
What was appealing about Lindor — beyond the talent — was that he had two seasons of control left, making relinquishing controllable talent more palatable for the Mets.
Betts actually fit the Mets’ needs in a greater way — center field and leadoff hitter. But that he only had one year of control remaining was a huge hurdle. The Mets were concerned about giving up significant talent and adding to their payroll and then — worst-case scenario — what happens if Betts were to be injured?
That is why giving up Jeff McNeil was a non-starter for the Mets. They did not want to surrender what they expect to be five years of control…