The New York Mets certainly made a splash before the MLB lockout began. Although Max Scherzer was the big name, the Mets also added players like Starling Marte and Eduardo Escobar to their lineup.
With the signing of Escobar, the Mets seemingly have a log-jam of infielders for the 2022 season, when and if it begins. It's possible that the team will look to move a big league infielder.
With some combination of Pete Alonso or Dominic Smith holding down first base, and Francisco Lindor at shortstop every day, that leaves McNeil, Escobar and J.D. Davis to fill the other three spots.
That's not even mentioning Robinson Cano and any role he might play in the upcoming season. With that in mind, the team may look to trade McNeil or Davis. Let's examine that possibility and why McNeil shouldn't be traded.
Why the Mets are better off keeping McNeil
First, the introduction of the DH into the National League will certainly benefit the Mets' everyday lineup. This allows them to get McNeil, Davis, or Smith into the everyday lineup more regularly, where previously they would be on the bench.
With as deep as the Mets lineup can be, it doesn't make sense to trade away a bat like McNeil. Adding to his bat, McNeil is a versatile glove in the field, capable of playing both infield and outfield. The best option would be to have McNeil 2nd, allowing Escobar or Davis to play third.
If McNeil were to be traded, it would likely be for bullpen help, a starting pitcher, or prospects to beef up the farm system. However, coming off his 2021 season, McNeil's trade value has likely declined, making any potential trade not worth it.
2021 marked his worst statistical season of his young career. It doesn't make sense to unload McNeil now with his value not being what it used to be. A better bet is to keep him and rely on him returning to his old self, or as close as possible to that player.
Keeping McNeil also better balances out the Mets lineup. His left-handed bat would better compliment the team's lineup, which leans right-handed, even with Francisco Lindor being a switch hitter.
Even with McNeil's poor offensive year by his standards, he still ranked third on the team in batting with his .252 average. At a time in baseball where it is hard to find contact hitters, McNeil is one the Mets shouldn't be pushing out the door.
Overall, there is no doubt the Mets struggled offensively last season. With that in mind, it doesn't make sense to trade a proven .300 big league hitter, especially when his trade value would be down after this last season.
The best idea for the Mets should be to keep McNeil in the lineup, hoping he can return to his old self.