3) NY Mets don’t need to sign Jeff McNeil to an extension yet
Jeff McNeil will reach free agency at the same time Alonso does. However, because he is a few years older due to his late MLB start, he’s not nearly as obvious of a candidate to get a long-term deal. He’s also not quite in the same category as Alonso. Even if we like what he can do, extending him feels a little too free-spending.
Exactly what the Mets have planned for McNeil is unknown. He was a winter trade candidate who stayed put and proved himself on the field. He’s incredibly valuable to this team as a starting second baseman and backup outfielder.
An extension for McNeil would probably actually benefit him more although that’s not a guaranteed either. The 30-year-old does already have a pair of All-Star selections. When he hits free agency after 2024, even at 32, he’ll have teams lining up to pay him for at least the next three or four seasons.
The Mets, however, don’t have any urgency to extend him as they could feel they must with Alonso or Diaz and any of the pending free agents. McNeil is already older than many free agents will be in the coming offseason. Despite money not being an issue for ownership, extending him now would go against everything they have done up until this point.
McNeil is far from your average extension candidate. He’s also unlikely to get more than an extra year or two tacked on. Even then, he might benefit himself more by waiting until he gets to free agency. He’ll only get one shot to get a big deal. McNeil will need to make it count.