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Mets Roster: What the team would look like without Jeff McNeil

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 08: Jeff McNeil #6 of the New York Mets in action against the Houston Astros during a spring training baseball game at Clover Park on March 8, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 08: Jeff McNeil #6 of the New York Mets in action against the Houston Astros during a spring training baseball game at Clover Park on March 8, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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The New York Mets would look vastly different without Jeff McNeil on the roster.

There’s no shortage of love between Jeff McNeil and your typical New York Mets fan. I wouldn’t be shocked to learn he’s one of those players non-Mets fans actually adore, too. His playing style differentiates him from the rest of the league. He’s scrappy, talented, and can do just about anything amazingly well.

Only Jacob deGrom and Pete Alonso are more, or even as, valuable as McNeil is to the team. Without his rise in 2018, the team would look a lot different right now. Let’s try to see where the Mets would actually be without McNeil on the roster.

Take away McNeil from the 2020 plans and the team is left with a giant hole at third base. J.D. Davis might slot in there, but his defense troubles me. We also wouldn’t be able to say Jed Lowrie could play the spot. Does he actually exist?

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It’s inconceivable to expect the Mets would have been in on Anthony Rendon last winter. Because McNeil is making such little money in baseball terms, there’s little room for the team to upgrade at the position.

Across the rest of the bench and into the minor leagues, there doesn’t look like any clear answer. Without McNeil, the team might have another Todd Frazier level player at third base. I would actually bet on it.

Backing up a bit, I want to look at the 2019 season and what McNeil accomplished. Throughout the season, he filled in at a variety of positions. It was left field where he found himself playing most often.

Take him away last year, the team is in much worse shape. They didn’t have the outfield depth needed. We may have seen Davis in left field from the start which could have gone well. However, it’s McNeil’s ability to fill in at second base for an injured Robinson Cano and all of the other positions he played that made him such an important piece to the puzzle.

Alonso is an important member of the Mets, but we know what the team looks like without him. Dominic Smith is the first baseman and that’s the end of it.

Even deGrom has an easy answer. Remove him from the Mets and the team has another ace—one we can count on to not pitch nearly as well as Jake.

Next. Why the Mets may regret letting Steven Matz walk

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When the 2020 season resumes, we can expect McNeil to play third base every day with the occasional start somewhere else. He is, after all, the best backup the team has at a variety of places. And behind him, there’s not much.

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