The New York Mets signed second baseman Jeff McNeil to a four-year, $50 million extension Friday, according to reports. Jeff Passan of ESPN was first on the news.
The deal keeps McNeil in Queens long-term. He was set to go to an arbitration trial with the Mets, but that is not the issue now. “The Squirrel” is the defending NL batting champ, hitting .326/.382/.454 with nine home runs, 39 doubles, 62 RBI and 61 strikeouts.
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
Jeff McNeil Remains In Queens
McNeil’s deal carries an average annual value of $12.5 million and includes a club option for a fifth year. If this is exercised, the potential value of the deal is $63.75 million. The extension follows a strong 2022 for the second baseman, in which he bounced back after a subpar season.
McNeil first came up in 2018 and finished sixth in NL Rookie of the Year voting despite playing only 63 games. The following year, he enjoyed a breakout season, hitting .318 with 23 homers, 75 RBI, and a .916 OPS. This performance earned him his first career All-Star nod. In the pandemic-shortened season of 2020, McNeil continued to put up solid numbers, playing 52 of 60 games and hitting .311. He had a rough 2021, however, as his average dipped below .300 for the first time. He also had a career-low .679 OPS.
Luckily, McNeil saw a return to form last year. Not only did he win the batting crown and garner his second All-Star appearance, he also won his first career Silver Slugger Award. While McNeil hasn’t regained the power he exhibited in 2019, he has settled in as a reliable leadoff man. By signing Jeff McNeil to an extension, the Mets are locking in a key ingredient for their championship window. While this move continues New York’s offseason spending spree and ballooning payroll, the price tag here is more modest compared to some of their prior transactions. This could help give the team some needed financial flexibility in the coming season and beyond.
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