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Mets: Jeff McNeil’s emergence allows the team to spend elsewhere

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Jeff McNeil #68 of the New York Mets tosses the ball to second base to turn a double play in the bottom of the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 17, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Jeff McNeil #68 of the New York Mets tosses the ball to second base to turn a double play in the bottom of the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 17, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Jeff McNeil can offer the New York Mets a low-cost option at second base. An effect of this, the team can now spend in other areas.

We shouldn’t expect anyone within the organization to come out and say it, but it looks like Jeff McNeil has won the 2019 New York Mets second base job. Why shouldn’t he? Since his promotion to the big leagues, the guy has been one of the team’s best hitters.

By playing so well and unofficially winning the second base gig, McNeil allows the Mets to spend at other positions this winter. Hopefully, they actually do.

At the start of 2018, it looked like second base might be a need in the following offseason. Asdrubal Cabrera was in the final year of his contract and an unlikely extension candidate. Many of us thought that maybe a guy like Gavin Cecchini could take over.

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Things worked out much better with McNeil. The Mets can forego buying Brian Dozier, DJ LeMahieu, or even Daniel Murphy. They’ve actually developed a good big league hitter at the position.

Offensively, there isn’t much wiggle room for the Mets to add just yet. Catcher and center field could use an upgrade. Other than those two spots, they need to make another transaction first.

The Mets do have internal options at each, but would greatly benefit from adding someone from outside the organization. Names like Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos are options at catcher. In center field, we could see them target A.J. Pollock or another name.

Several things have happened in 2018 which open up the possibility of seeing a shopping spree this winter. David Wright‘s possible retirement, or whatever it is they’re calling it, may free up money. Yoenis Cespedes‘ contract should also be partially paid via insurance.

It’s not enough money for the team to outspend others in a sweepstakes for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. It is, however, a good total for them to improve this ball club.

This front office needs to remember how vital it is to have guys on rookie contracts playing on the 25-man roster. In years past, they got by with an affordable yet talented starting rotation. Now, they can do so with some league-minimum position players.

It will be interesting to see how aggressive the Mets are this winter. Is it business as usual with cheap veterans coming in or do they surprise us with a brand new strategy?

Next. Mets say goodbye to three of the best in 2018

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Whatever they do, I believe we can count on McNeil to get the majority of starts at second base. It’s up to the front office to reap the rewards of having a minimum wage starter and fill other holes.

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