Spring training will begin early for Jeff McNeil, with an imminent visit from Mets quality control coach Luis Rojas to assist in the start of his transition to the outfield.
McNeil, the Mets’ starting second baseman in the final third of 2018 — and an infielder almost exclusively in six professional seasons — is getting pushed to the outfield after the team signed infielder Jed Lowrie.
“[McNeil] feels very comfortable out there,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “We are going to make a commitment to developing him as an outfielder.”
Among Rojas’ responsibilities in his first year on the major-league coaching staff will be working with the outfielders. In recent years, Rojas managed Double-A Binghamton, where he had McNeil the first half of last season.
McNeil played some outfield at Long Beach State but has played in only eight minor-league games there. The Mets haven’t determined if he’ll be able to handle all three spots, but in spring training, they plan to give him time in the infield, too, in an effort to turn him into a true super-utility player.
“He’ll bounce around at all the positions because we want to use that as an asset,” Van Wagenen said.
Done with deals
Don’t expect any more major moves from the Mets this offseason.
“We feel good about the primary players we have currently on our roster, so the depth would be more of a focus for us going forward,” Van Wagenen said. “We will continue to find ways to get better. If that means continuing to add pieces to the depth we currently have or ways to improve the bullpen or any other pieces, we’ll keep an eye on them.”
The Mets haven’t decided if they’ll carry seven or eight relievers. “We’ll see how spring training goes with not only the health of our pitching staff but the health of our position players,” Van Wagenen said. “And then we’ll also look at the schedule in April to see how that will impact our decision-making.” . . . Talks with Jacob deGrom and his agents about a contract extension are ongoing. Said Van Wagenen, “We haven’t put a timeline on contract discussions with Jacob, or any of the players on our roster, for that matter.”