NY Mets: 4 internal Michael Conforto replacements for 2022
Jeff McNeil seems to have a new primary position every year, doesn’t he?
You may recall seeing Jeff McNeil play a lot of right field back in 2019. You weren’t dreaming. He played 300 total innings at the position and started 38 games.
Ideally, McNeil remains the team’s starting second baseman. An issue that could arise is the return of Robinson Cano. The team has yet to release him (probably because they can’t while he is suspended) and that causes a logjam at the position. Cano could ride the bench, however, I suspect he’d get at-bats as a second baseman and possibly DH more often than any of us would like—if the Mets don’t release him.*
*I’m trying to write it into existence.
Even without us factoring Cano into the situation, McNeil is a possible starting right fielder for the Mets next year. The free agent market for outfielders is not a strong one. That could lead the club to look at a second base upgrade in the open market or via trade.
Looking further down the road, a full-time move to the outfield for McNeil may even open up second base for a prospect like Ronny Mauricio. He’s clearly not going to play shortstop often when he makes the majors with Francisco Lindor locked up for a decade. The sooner McNeil moves to a new position and gets comfortable, the quicker we could see the path clear for Mauricio to become the team’s future second baseman.
Deep in my soulless heart, I do think there’s a strong possibility we see McNeil as the starting right fielder next year. Re-signing Javier Baez to become the starting second baseman then moving McNeil is also one other possibility to consider.