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Friday, January 27, 2023

Sources: Mets, batting champ Jeff McNeil reach $50M extension

National League batting champion Jeff McNeil and the New York Mets agreed Friday to a four-year, $50 million contract extension, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN, ensuring one of the team’s core players will remain in Queens as it looks to win its first World Series since 1986.

The deal, which is pending a physical, includes a fifth-year club option that could take the overall value to $63.75 million, sources told ESPN.

McNeil, who turns 31 a week after Opening Day, was scheduled to go to an arbitration trial with the Mets, where he was requesting $7.75 million and they offered $6.25 million. Instead, the gap spurred conversations about keeping McNeil past his remaining two years of arbitration and landed on buying out two free agent seasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 27, 2023 at 04:11 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jeff mcneil, mets

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   1. reech Posted: January 27, 2023 at 07:00 PM (#6114824)
Great deal.
Mets get to keep a guy who now will most likely be a career Met.
Plus, his skills should not disappear in the next 4 years.
At worst, he's a "super-sub" by year 4.

   2. The Duke Posted: January 27, 2023 at 11:01 PM (#6114841)
Good extension - Mets are loaded
   3. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 28, 2023 at 01:16 AM (#6114848)
McNeil had 5.7 WAR last year and he just signed a contract paying $12.5m per year, including 2 years post-free agency and gave the team an option for an extra year at $13.5m. Am I missing something or did this guy just agree to a huge underpay?
   4. Adam Starblind Posted: January 28, 2023 at 09:31 AM (#6114858)
He’s 31; had a bad 2021; not a free agent until 32. Betting on yourself is cool, but I also understand a dude with that profile saying “F that, I’m taking $50 million.”
   5. Cris E Posted: January 28, 2023 at 01:02 PM (#6114874)
This is great news for Arraez, who can now expect an offer from... oh, never mind.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: January 28, 2023 at 02:34 PM (#6114882)
#3: The mystery starts with the arb numbers cited in the intro. An excellent player, has a mediocre 2021, gets only $3 M in his first arb year. That kinda locks him in financially for the rest of his arb years -- very rare to do much more than double your first year then up another 50% after that. Both sides know that so they file for about $7 this year. That probably puts him at $10-11 for 2024.

There seem to still be "biases" built into arb and front office (and even players and their agents). McNeil isn't a "starting" anything, he's a super-sub or a rover. He's never made it to 600 PA. Players with that profile just don't get paid right, it's like nobody quite trusts them. It was a decade ago now but Zobrist signed for 3 arb + 2 FA for $30 M. Here's an unfortunate but hilarious Bleacher Report article on the mistake of extending Zobrist.

It's hard to say what he'd be looking at in FA. When Zobrist finally got there, he was turning 35 but the Cubs still gave him 4/$56 (not a great deal but he had 2 good season). LeMahieu had been a regular 2B but was becoming a rover at 32 and he finagled a couple of very good seasons into 6/$90 which I think most agree was a bad deal by the Yanks. The option year in this deal kinda tells us how negotiations went. The Mets weren't even willing to guarantee a 5th year at just $13 M but McNeil is still willing to give the option. Neither side thinks he's looking at big FA money. He's a "great guy to have on your team" not a "star."

It's counter-intuitive (and I might be wrong) but my guess is that if McNeil was just a 140+ start 2B, he might have made $5 M this year and be looking at $10 M this year. His versatility makes him more valuable but less compensated -- go figure.

And whether it's an issue with WAR or with front offices -- the good all-around player is still under-appreciated. Maybe they don't age well. Starling Marte was an excellent young player and the Pirates signed him for 2 pre-arb, 3 arb, 1 FA at $31 M with 2 options totalling an additional $22. 34 WAR, 19 WAA, coming off a 4.7 WAR season, 9 WAR the previous 2+ seasons (4.4/650) and he signed for 4/$78 with these same Mets. McNeil basically got 2/$32 for his first 2 FA years. If he waited, he'd maybe get ... $18-20 AAV?
   7. Darren Posted: January 28, 2023 at 03:47 PM (#6114896)
My initial thought was big underpay but after thinking through the arb years and his age, it seems like more of a small underpay. Without the deal, he seems like he probably gets $17 mil or so the next two years, then hits free agency at 33. ZIPS projects him at 3.3 WAR next year, Steamer says 3.6. Normal aging and he's probably in the low 3s the following year, and high 2s at age 33. So yeah, he's got a decent shot at getting a Marte (4/76) or LeMahieu (5/90 minus a year), but it's a reasonable tradeoff for him to take $43 mil in new guaranteed money now, especially since he's only made about $12 mil including his 2023 salary.
   8. The Duke Posted: January 28, 2023 at 08:09 PM (#6114923)
I'm hoping the cardinals can do a deal with Tommy Edman that looks like this. He's kind of in the same boat. Super utility guy.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: January 28, 2023 at 11:49 PM (#6114937)
he might have made $5 M this year and be looking at $10 M this year.

We're still in transition, half my brain thinks 2022 is this baseball year and the other half has moved onto 2023. If the two halves worked together or at least could keep it straight for a single sentence, do you think I'd be wasting my time here?
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: January 29, 2023 at 12:33 AM (#6114943)
McNeil was never a fave of the Mets front office as he worked up the ladder (I think it was a Sandy Alderson thing).

even killing it in the minors in 2018 - sure, a 1.027 OPS in hitter-happy Vegas in AAA, but a 1.029 in AA Binghamton in more AB and 384 PA overall in AA/AAA - didn't seem to float the Mets boat. finally, finally he gets called up (after being passed over) after the All-Star break at age 26, and he keeps mashing.

130 or better OPS+ and .311 AVG or better in 4 of his 5 MLB seasons. he's not just "a guy."

has always seemed to have a chip on his shoulder - and obviously that plays well in NYC. and since mind-reading of HOF voters seems so popular on the other thread, let's go there with McNeil here. he loves playing for this franchise, which is a bit like him. and when you're in your mid-20s and have yet to appear in The Show, $50M sounds pretty, pretty good I suspect.

on a visual note, for those who didn't like the shift, I found him entertaining as he approached many AB. he'd stand outside the batter's box and study the location of each infielder. should be an old-school fan fave - "hit 'em where they ain't" seemed to be his focus.

re Edman, just from an offensive end, McNeil mops the floor with him (128 OPS+ to 103 career). and last year was Edman's first with 350 PA in MLB and a 100 or better OPS+ (108).

(of course, if Edman really can handle SS, that forgives a lot of offensive sins.)
   11. The Duke Posted: January 29, 2023 at 11:37 PM (#6115105)
10. McNeil has 17 bWAR in 1800 at bats and Edman 15.3 bWAR in about 100 less at bats. They derive offensive value a bit differently with Edman getting big base running credit. What he might be missing on pure hit skill is made up for there. And the defense is gold glove at all three infield positions. He's three years younger so he's probably not as urgently looking for selling out free agent years but the McNeil deal has to be a pretty close comp to his worth

If he switched to just being a RH batter he's probably approach McNeil at the plate

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