Jeff McNeil Signs $50 Million Contract – Why It’s A Steal For The Mets
The New York Mets might have themselves a steal with Jeff McNeil – especially if he continues to produce at his pace.
It’s not surprising to hear that the team reached a new contract with the second baseman – but usually arbitration results in one-year agreements.
Instead, both sides were able to strike a four-year extension worth $50 million.
BREAKING: National League batting champion Jeff McNeil and the New York Mets are in agreement on a four-year, $50 million contract extension, pending physical, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. It includes a fifth-year club option that could take value to $63.75 million
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 27, 2023
To make it even sweeter for the Mets, it will come with a team option that could take the deal up to $63.75 million.
One thing to consider is the Mets had two more years of arbitration left – so they gave him a bit of a premium now in hopes it will pay off down the line.
McNeil filed for $7.75 million in arbitration this year, while the Mets countered with $6.25 million. Both sides would have likely found a middle ground at around $7 million but it only would have been for one year.
That would have allowed him to potentially become a free agent at age 33 and cash in on a much bigger contract.
But the deal does give McNeil some security in case he faces a huge dip in production or deals with injuries that tank his value.
But no mistake – the contract is an absolute bargain for the Mets if he continues at his pace.
McNeil since earning a call-up to the Mets in 2018, has established himself as one of the best contact hitters in the MLB.
Last year, the soon-to-be 31-year-old slashed .326/.382/.454 (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage).
That was enough to win him the National League Batting title, becoming the second Met ever to do it.
And McNeil for the most part has been a consistent hitter for the Mets, hitting over .310 in four of his five seasons with the Mets.
He was also the third-toughest player to fan last year, as his strikeout rate was only 10.3 percent, according to TeamRankings.
The only knock on McNeil is his power.
He crushed 23 home runs in 2019 but hasn’t hit 10 or more since.
But still, the Mets will live with it if he continues to get on base and remains a contender for the batting title.
New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu might have been a good comparison to McNeil.
LeMahieu wasn’t a big home run either but was an elite contact hitter.
In 2020, he slashed .364/.421/.590, which scored him a six-year $90 million contract with the Yankees just before turning 33.
While his numbers were better than McNeil’s, a big difference was LeMahieu was a free agent.
So the Mets may have saved themselves millions of dollars by acting before McNeil is eligible to hit the open market in a couple of years.
Instead, now, the team could potentially have McNeil locked up through his age-35 season, with a very manageable salary number.
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