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Friday, December 24, 2021

Sources: Mets Intend To Make Jeff McNeil Available On Trading Block After Lockout

Over the course of his first three seasons in the big-leagues (2018-2020), Mets second baseman/utility man Jeff McNeil produced an impressive career slash line of .319/.383/.501/.884.

However, in 2021, a number of Mets’ hitters struggled immensely, including McNeil, who slashed just .251/.319/.360 with a .679 OPS across 120 games.

Now, once the lockout ends, the Mets intend on making McNeil available on the trading block with their sights set on acquiring pitching help in return, as multiple sources told Inside the Mets on Thursday.

Although McNeil’s underwhelming performance last season was an outlier based off his overall track record, the Mets have made a significant effort to improve the culture of the team, which is why they signed a group of veteran players this winter that are known for being good clubhouse guys in Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 24, 2021 at 11:39 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jeff mcneil, mets

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 24, 2021 at 03:16 PM (#6058591)
To what end? What can you hope to land for McNeil? If he's really a 4-WAR player, keep him. If he's really a rover who can produce at league average level, keep him, you need one of those. If the Mets don't think he's that good, most other teams won't either in which case -- what a #5 "starter", an OK reliever? I mean there's no harm seeing if you can find somebody you think is a sucker, but why advertise it?

Although McNeil’s underwhelming performance last season was an outlier based off his overall track record

Maybe. His profile is a classic late bloomer. A 12th round pick, he hit for high BA but not power for ages 21-23. Then he was hurt for most of ages 24-25. He broke out big time at 26, including good ML performance and kept up that good performance for ages 27-28 then the offense collapsed at 29. These guys come and go all the time. There are reasons to expect better -- the BABIP might not get back to 330 but it should certainly be better than 280; ISO will probably bounce back towards 140 -- but he'd hardly be the first guy of this type to fade quickly. He's turning 30, the trajectory probably isn't up.

A key thing is the defense. If it's in line with what Rfield suggests then, even with last year's offense, he's a very good 400-500 PA rover.

Anyway, three guys spring to mind. Bill Hall peaked at 25-26 (9 WAR) and put up 0 after that. Josh Harrison was very good from 26-29 (13 WAR) and has been a 1-WAR player in his 30s. Mark DeRosa ... probably not a great comp as he bloomed much later peaking at ages 31-33 then fading about the way you'd think an above-average player in his mid-30s would. If McNeil has DeRosa's ages 30-32 ahead of him, he'll be very solid. All three guys had nice careers of 10-15 WAR, Harrison is still going, but basically all of that WAR was packed into 2-3 seasons.

Of course there are late bloomers who didn't fade and McNeil fanboys can point to, say, Chase Utley as an extreme counter-example. But of course if he's going to be anywhere between average and Utley (really anywhere between Harrison and Utley) in his early 30s, then why in the world would you trade him?
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 24, 2021 at 04:20 PM (#6058595)
Although McNeil’s underwhelming performance last season was an outlier based off his overall track record, the Mets have made a significant effort to improve the culture of the team, which is why they signed a group of veteran players this winter that are known for being good clubhouse guys in Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha.
Sir, are you implying that the altercation with Lindor wasn’t really over rodent taxonomy??
   3. depletion Posted: December 24, 2021 at 05:06 PM (#6058597)
I don't think there are such things as "outliers". All the data suggests he is a .299 BA, 124 OPS+ hitter, competent at 2B or LF, good at 3B (where they don't seem to like putting him). Also cheap and not old. He got into an argument with one of the fellows who gave the crowd a thumbs down. So McNeil has an attitude problem. I don't think they're likely to improve on the overall package by moving him. Is Cano going to be the everyday guy at 2B? For how long?
   4. Jack Sommers Posted: December 24, 2021 at 05:33 PM (#6058602)
Increase in groundball rate, decrease in Pull rate, and a decrease in wOBA and xwOBA on Fastballs hints at a slowing bat. While some bounce back is to be expected, there are warning signs here.



   5. Howie Menckel Posted: December 24, 2021 at 07:18 PM (#6058607)
Alderson has never, ever liked McNeil. Mets tried to avoid promoting him in 2018 (1.028 OPS in 384 PA in AAA, admittedly in Las Vegas but still) but ran out of bums to promote, so up he went, finally - and .852 OPS ensued with Mets.

McNeil still has an understandable chip on his shoulder, and he's better off elsewhere. I doubt the Mets win this trade, though.

   6. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 24, 2021 at 07:49 PM (#6058609)
Trading a 30-year-old when his value is lowest because you just signed a bunch of 33-year-olds doesn’t seem that wise. That being said, they do need more pitching so I’ll refrain from judgment until I see what he brings back.
   7. JJ1986 Posted: December 24, 2021 at 09:22 PM (#6058614)
There are very few reasons to think Cano is going to be a good, everyday second-baseman this season.
   8. Adam Starblind Posted: December 24, 2021 at 11:36 PM (#6058619)
. Trading a 30-year-old when his value is lowest because you just signed a bunch of 33-year-olds doesn’t seem that wise.


His value is the same to the Mets as it is to anyone else.
   9. Adam Starblind Posted: December 24, 2021 at 11:39 PM (#6058620)
. To what end? What can you hope to land for McNeil? If he's really a 4-WAR player, keep him. If he's really a rover who can produce at league average level, keep him, you need one of those. If the Mets don't think he's that good, most other teams won't either in which case -- what a #5 "starter", an OK reliever? I mean there's no harm seeing if you can find somebody you think is a sucker, but why advertise it?


So he could be good, bad, or ok, and maybe you can trade him for someone good, bad, or ok!

He’s got a wider range of likely outcomes than some other players, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trade him if you can get a piece you need.
   10. John Northey Posted: December 25, 2021 at 12:49 AM (#6058623)
It'll be interesting to see what the Mets get for him. Seems they are counting on teams bidding against each other to get him, but haven't had much luck so they are doing this to make things move. Safe bet GM's are planning trades so 10 minutes after the lockout ends a flurry of trades will happen.
   11. Simpson Posted: December 25, 2021 at 11:39 AM (#6058633)
mcneil for kimbrell, get on it hahn.
   12. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 25, 2021 at 02:00 PM (#6058635)
His value is the same to the Mets as it is to anyone else.

Perhaps. That’s why I said I’ll reserve judgment until I see what they get for him. But signing guys after they just had career years (I.e. Marte) and then trading guys after they just had career down years isn’t usually the path to success.
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: December 25, 2021 at 02:17 PM (#6058636)
I'm on the optimistic side, any team not willing to inquire about McNeil after this article, is not trying. Heck my team has a surplus right now in the middle infield and if they don't inquire, it would be a disappointment on the front office. It's absolutely clear that the Mess are willing to trade pennies on the dollar for this. The only team that is going to lose out on a trade for McNeil is the Mess, and that is clear to all the other teams.
   14. Adam Starblind Posted: December 25, 2021 at 02:50 PM (#6058639)
If many teams are interested, the Mets won’t need to trade for pennies on the dollar. Arenado and his contract sounds good to me.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: December 25, 2021 at 04:36 PM (#6058641)
He’s got a wider range of likely outcomes than some other players, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trade him if you can get a piece you need.

Except ... I forget where I read this ... His value is the same to the Mets as it is to anyone else.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: December 25, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6058645)
<i>So he could be good, bad, or ok, and maybe you can trade him for someone good, bad, or ok!<?i>

Where did I say they would be able to trade him for someone good? That's a very unlikely outcome in my opinion. That's why it's likely silly to trade him.

As to a "piece you need" -- well that depends on what that piece is and what need you have for McNeil. So, again, if McNeil is a 4-WAR player, then you almost certainly need him. Now, everybody could use an extra good starting pitcher and maybe the Mets need one of those more than they need McNeil ... but they aren't going to be able to trade McNeil for a good starting pitcher. Maybe they need a #5 starter or a decent reliever -- items generally easily available at a cheap price on the FA market and really more nice-to-haves than necessities. Maybe McNeil himself is more a nice-to-have than a necessity ... in which case you've made a perfectly reasonable and perfectly blah trade.

My other point is that this is a weird way to handle the trade of a player like McNeil. "Cards intend to put Arenado on the block" is a headline and something you might want out there to ensure teams know you're open to discussion. This is "Padres are open to offers for Craig Stammen" is not big news. You make a blah player for blah player trade more by identifying a set of blah players you think would be more useful to you than McNeil and see if any of those teams would have a bigger need for McNeil ... not by leaking to the press that McNeil is on the block.
   17. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 25, 2021 at 05:37 PM (#6058647)
BUt isnt MLB in some sort of black out period with respect to talking about players? Is this one way for the Mets to get around that?
   18. Adam Starblind Posted: December 25, 2021 at 05:42 PM (#6058648)
.
Except ... I forget where I read this ... His value is the same to the Mets as it is to anyone else.


Those two things are entirely consistent, wiseass.
   19. Adam Starblind Posted: December 25, 2021 at 05:44 PM (#6058649)
. . not by leaking to the press that McNeil is on the block.


Of course, you have no idea who leaked it. Aside from the fact that you know everything; set that aside for the moment.
   20. Moeball Posted: December 26, 2021 at 06:05 PM (#6058699)
McNeil wasn't the only Met lefty to have his batting fall off dramatically in 2021. So did Dominic Smith, although his better performances in 2019-2020 were in limited playing time so maybe he just isn't ready to be a full time player?

But I was still curious as to why 2 excellent hitters both simultaneously seemed to fall off a cliff at the same time. Was there anything unusual going on at the stadium this season that might have changed the park effects at all?
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: December 26, 2021 at 07:21 PM (#6058702)
the Mets in 2021 had a wealth of batting coaches pushing contradictory hitting approaches to all of the Mets batters.

Alonso couldn't hit a HR at Citi Field for the first 2 months or so. he finally somewhat righted the ship to reach 12 HR at home vs. 25 away.

Conforto was completely lost in July, so much so that he seemed to just "reboot" and he was respectable the last 2 months.

you don't just turn a 121 OPS+ team in 2020 into a 94 one in 2021 without putting the work in to upend a lotta apple carts.

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