Back to the potential trade market
I made a bit of a prediction that Kiner-Falefa might be available at some point this offseason, and I’m prepared to do the same for another player. That would be Jeff McNeil of the New York Mets.
The Mets are another team that has been very busy so far this offseason, already signing Max Scherzer to a massive three-year deal, as well as bringing in Starling Marte, Mark Cantha, and Eduardo Escobar on free agent contracts. It would appear that the Mets are tired of missing the playoffs.
The addition of Escobar is what makes me wonder if the Mets might make McNeil available. As it stands they have an infield that includes Franciso Lindor at shortstop and Pete Alonso at first base, and Escobar will play one of the other two positions. The Mets could start Escobar at third base and keep McNeil as their regular second baseman, or it’s possible that they could use someone like J.D. Davis at the hot corner, which would allow Escobar to play second.
In this case you may have to convince the Mets to give up McNeil, but they don’t have the same urgency for his presence on the roster as they once did. He’s a utility man by trade, but they don’t need him to play the outfield anymore now that they have Marte, Cantha, Brandon Nimmo, and even Dominic Smith. Again, he’s probably the most likely candidate to start at second base for the Mets next season, but they do have other options, and it’s possible they’re not done improving the roster either.
Considering McNeil is coming off of a down season that saw him slash just .251/.319/.360 with seven home runs and 35 RBI over 120 games, his value isn’t as high as it was a year ago. Prior to that he had averaged a .383 OBP from 2018-2020 over his first three years in the league, and he was an All-Star in 2019 when he hit .318 and provided 23 home runs and 73 RBI will he bounced all over the field defensively.
It’s entirely possible that the Mets just decide to hang on to the 29 year old, but their roster also feels pretty fluid at the moment. I’m willing to bet if the Blue Jays called and made an offer that they liked, they’d at least entertain the idea. With three years remaining of contract control (under the past CBA, anyway), McNeil is one player I’m certainly intrigued by.