CLEVELAND — Through his first few days of Spring Training, Francisco Lindor has yet to notice much of a difference playing for a big market team.
After all, the increase in media members one might expect to see going from playing for the Cleveland Indians to the New York Mets has been limited due to coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions.
"I don't see you guys in the clubhouse," Lindor told reporters during a virtual media availability on Monday. "I haven't really seen that big market experience except my Instagram and Twitter and social media pages have grown."
Over the course of nearly 40 minutes, the four-time All-Star discussed a number of topics with the press, including Fernando Tatis Jr.'s recent $340 million contract extension with the San Diego Padres, his own impending free agency and the Mets' outlook for the 2021 campaign. As far as Indians fans are concerned, perhaps the most noteworthy answer Lindor gave came when he was asked about the effect the coronavirus pandemic had on the 2020 season.
"Last year was a very difficult year for a lot of people. I was blessed to be able to play every game, stay healthy, stay on the field," he said. "My routine was a little different last year. I didn't give my best in the weight room and that showed the last week of the season. I got tired. You know, 60 games, I was playing well. I was playing fine. I played well. It was just that last week, I didn't get my couple hits and it went down to hitting .240, .230 -- I don't know what I hit last year. But whatever it was, it wasn't good.
"So yeah, I just got tired. I didn't give my best in the weight room. It showed. It showed the last week. That's pretty much it when it comes to last year's season."
Although the two-time Silver Slugger's batting average may not have wound up as low as he alluded to, it did drop from .286 on Sept. 15 to .258 by season's end. And while it's worth noting the 2020 season was shortened to just 60 games due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lindor posted career lows in several averages, including batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and OPS+.
In two postseason games, Lindor went 1-for-8 with three strikeouts as Cleveland was swept by the New York Yankees in the Wild Card round.
Nevertheless, the 27-year-old finds himself looking forward and not back. And while it may not mean much to Indians fans, last month's trade to the Mets has provided Lindor with not just more followers on social media, but also, a fresh start.
"I do the same thing every offseason. I work as hard as I can to improve my body, to try to get better, to get stronger, to get faster or at least maintain certain areas of my game," he said. "So it's been the same thing that I do every offseason -- work as hard as I can. I thought last year went well, it was just that last week. And there's nothing I can do in the offseason to fix that last week -- it's doing it during the season this year to make sure that stretch [doesn't] happen."
More Cleveland Indians coverage:
Jeff Ellis further discusses Lindor's revelation in Wednesday's episode of the Locked On Indians podcast, as well as the following topics:
- Shin-Shoo Choo perennially being on the most underrated players in baseball list.
- The 13 pitchers who the Indians will break camp with.