In 2025, the Mets should give Juan Soto a blank check and not think twice about it.
Soto is incredible. There’s no other way to put it. He’s just simply the best hitter in baseball, without a doubt. He’s also just 23 years old. When he hits the free-agent market in 2025, it will be for his age-26 season.
It’s rare in baseball that a player hits the free-agent market that young, much less someone of his caliber. He will be the most coveted free agent in baseball history, and that’s how it should be. No one in baseball right now has his combination of bat-to-ball skills, power and plate discipline.
The Mets should do everything possible to sign him, whatever the cost.
Admittedly, it will be a massive offseason for the team. It’s the Pete Alonso free-agent class as well, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him extended before he gets a chance to test the market.
Jeff McNeil is also a free agent, and he’s a bit more difficult than Alonso to project. He’s been extremely valuable to the team in 2022, and has been exceptional throughout his Mets career aside from 2021. But he will also be entering his age-33 season, while Alonso will be entering his age-30 season. McNeil will be one of the older players to hit the free-agent market for the first time, so it will be interesting to see what the team does.
Scherzer would also be a free agent if he doesn’t opt out the year prior, as will Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis — though the latter two are far from guarantees to even make it through their current contracts.
So yes, Soto isn’t the best positional need. He wouldn’t fill a potential hole vacated by McNeil, and would create a bit of a logjam in the outfield with Nimmo, Marte and Winker, but that’s just how good Soto is. The logjam would only be for one year, as Marte’s contract is up after 2025, and Winker probably wouldn’t be signed to a crazy long deal in the first place.
Then, the Mets could easily fill the infield hole by just re-signing McNeil. Sure, he won’t be young, but he’ll be about the same age as Canha and Eduardo Escobar who the Mets signed this offseason. A shorter two-to-four-year deal for McNeil wouldn’t be a bad idea.
The Mets could also opt for someone like Tim Anderson or Willy Adames to fill the hole, who will both be slightly younger. Or, of course, there’s always the minor league route. The Mets don’t have a ton of highly-touted infield depth in the minors outside of Ronny Mauricio, and he’s a shortstop who would have to learn to play second base.
That said, McNeil wasn’t even someone who made the top-30 prospect list the year before his debut, so you never know who can emerge to be an impact major leaguer. By the time 2025 comes around, the second base vacancy could have filled itself.
That brings us back to Soto. Nothing should stop the Mets, especially not positional fit, from bringing him on board.
Soto is arguably the best player in baseball. The Mets have the richest owner in baseball. Soto should be a Met, simple as that.