Jeff McNeil is a New York Mets fan-favorite, but is he untouchable in a trade?
Whenever Jeff McNeil’s name comes up in any hypothetical New York Mets trade, a good five-percent of people seem to be okay with it. Most of these trades are reasonable enough and bring back a pretty solid player in return for the Flying Squirrel. They have included packages to bring the Mets guys like Francisco Lindor, Kris Bryant, and other superstar players.
A funny thing does happen whenever one of your favorite players lands in a viral trade proposal. We grab those players, pull them closer, and refuse to let go even when logic and reason says otherwise.
McNeil is one of those rare Mets players that was a fan-favorite before even reaching the big leagues. He has only furthered the fanfare with his performance, currently holding a lifetime batting line of .319/.383/.501 through his first 1,024 trips to the plate.
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A pure hitter with some pop and the ability to play anywhere on the field, McNeil is a scrappy player any fanbase would fall in love with. When it comes to trading him, most fans won’t even think about it. However, for the right deal, they may need to.
McNeil will turn 29 in April of 2021 which makes him a guy essentially playing in what many consider his “prime years.” It’s hard to believe that by the time he potentially reaches the beginning of his third full season that McNeil will already be 30.
McNeil definitely got a slow start and bloomed a little later than others. Injuries held him back in the minor leagues as did the expectations. As a 12th round draft pick, I’m not sure he was ever on anyone’s radar.
There’s no urgency to trade McNeil nor should the Mets consider it outside of the perfect deal especially with the Robinson Cano suspension in 2021. The strange thing is, they have an owner willing to spend money now. So, the excuse that he’s “affordable” is no longer a just one. The Mets need the best players possible on their roster. If it ever becomes possible to swap McNeil for an upgrade, they have to do it.
The Mets still have several years of control over McNeil with his first arbitration-eligible campaign coming up in 2022. This is certainly an enticing aspect of his contract for other teams interested in upgrading at any of the positions McNeil can play. He’s incredibly affordable for what he can accomplish. Plus, at his age, he might be willing to secure a team-friendly deal.
Can we blame fans for wanting to keep the best players around? I understand it. There aren’t many as exciting as McNeil in the game let alone with the Mets.
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Under different circumstances, fans might be a little more willing to let McNeil go in exchange for the right superstar player. I suspect we’ll see a lot more trade chatter about him in the coming years. Each time, fans of his will have to hope they get shot down.