Thursday Thoughts on fourth outfielders and contract extensions

New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers
New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

With the Carlos Correa saga finally over, the New York Mets can finally move on with their offseason. They are still searching for a DH and fourth outfielder, and I’m sure they’ll pounce on any opportunities to add depth as well.

Speaking of 4th outfielders, the Mets have reportedly checked in on Andrew McCutchen, Adam Duvall, and Trey Mancini

I like the idea of adding Mancini, which I wrote about the other day. I think I like the idea of adding Andrew McCutchen even more. McCutchen used to be one of the premier players in the game, but even though he’s not anymore, he’d be a great 4th outfielder. Last season in Milwaukee, his rate stats didn’t impress (.237/.316/.384/.700) but he still displayed above-average power with 17 homers and 25 doubles. He still has elite speed too, it's in the 90th percentile on Baseball Savant. He's also a fantastic clubhouse presence and personality.

As I wrote about earlier in the offseason, I think the Mets should avoid Adam Duvall. Between his intrepid strikeout numbers and his recent wrist injury that could sap his power, he’s not worth the risk.

With the money that would’ve gone to Correa seemingly available, now would be a great time for the Mets to sign Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil to extensions

Alonso is one of the best power hitters in the sport. Since his debut in 2019, Polar Bear leads the majors in home runs (146) and RBI’s (380). He’s also 4th in extra-base hits (241), 8th in slugging percentage (.535), 11th in OPS+ (140), and 14th in OPS (.884). 

Pete will likely command a deal in the neighborhood of 10 years and $250 million. He just turned 28 in early December, so he has several prime years ahead of him, and he should still be very productive as he ages. His defense still isn’t good, so he will eventually move to DH full-time, however, he is a very marketable player who handles New York very well. Some think he may even get closer to $300 million, but based on recent comps, I think that's a little high.

Since Jeff McNeil’s debut in 2018, he’s been one of the best contact hitters in the game. He’s tied with Michael Brantley for the 3rd best batting average in baseball (.307), the 10th best strikeout rate (11.9%), and he tied with Ronald Acuna for the 16th best on-base percentage (.370). He also plays above average defense at second base and in both corner outfield spots

Jeff McNeil is older (he turns 31 on April 8th), so his extension will be shorter and smaller. I’d guess he’s in the five-year, $75 million range. His contact skills and positional versatility are really unique, but his age will keep him from getting the type mega-deal a lot of younger players get.

You’d be hard-pressed to find two players who are so different in skill and stature, but hopefully the Mets keep both and continue to build around them. The last thing I want to see is the Mets having the same problems that the Yankees had with Aaron Judge. Get them done soon please, Uncle Steve.

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