Mets, Jeff McNeil agree to four-year, $50 million deal
The Mets on Friday agreed to terms with National League batting champion Jeff McNeil on a four-year, $50 million contract extension with a team option for 2027 that would take it to $63.75 million, sources confirmed.
McNeil, who will turn 31 on April 8, hit an MLB-best .326 in 2022 to go along with nine home runs, 62 RBIs and an .836 OPS.
Since coming up to the Mets in 2018, McNeil is a career .307 hitter with 46 home runs and an .827 OPS. In 2022, he bounced back from a subpar 2021 (.251 average) to earn his second All-Star selection and first Silver Slugger award as the top-hitting second baseman in the NL.
McNeil recently made an appearance on MLB Network Radio and didn't let it slip that he was working on a new contract with the Mets.
He did, however, say he is excited about the upcoming season.
“I know losing [Jacob] deGrom is going to hurt a little bit, but we’re replacing him with [Justin] Verlander, who’s just as good," McNeil said. "I’m really looking forward to that. And losing [Chris] Bassitt is going to be tough, but we’ve brought in some pretty incredible pitchers. I think our pitching staff may’ve gotten even better. I’m looking forward to playing behind them and having other new teammates as well. I’m looking forward to getting after it.”
McNeil got his first taste of postseason baseball last season as the Mets lost the three-game Wild Card Series to the Padres. McNeil went 2-for-11 with two RBIs.
“I think it was a good taste for all of us," he said. "A lot of the guys on that team haven’t played too much playoff baseball. So I think we’re going to learn from that and build on that and take it into this year.”
McNeil started 95 games at second base, 44 in the outfield and three as the designated hitter last season. His versatility and bat-to-ball skills make him valuable enough for the Mets to lock him up and increase their all-time MLB record payroll and luxury tax to $467 million. That astounding figure is according to ESPN.com, which first reported the contract agreement.
The Mets and McNeil exchanged arbitration salary figures for 2023 earlier this month. McNeil, who made $3 million in 2022, asked for $7.75 million and the Mets countered at $6.25 million.
An arbitration hearing is scheduled for Thursday, but assuming the contract is finalized, the hearing will be canceled and the Squirrel will call Citi Field his home through his age-34 or age-35 season. McNeil was a 12th-round pick by the Mets in the 2013 draft.
The Mets may next try to lock up first baseman Pete Alonso, who agreed to a one-year, $14.5 million contract earlier this month. Alonso, 28, won’t be eligible for free agency until 2025, as McNeil was. The way Steve Cohen is throwing money around, it wouldn’t be a shock for the Mets to at least try to sign the popular, homegrown Alonso to a long-term deal.
.326 batting average*
9 home runs