Should the Reds attempt to trade for Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil?
By Drew Koch
The hot stove, for all intents and purposes, is off at the moment. With the lockout in full effect, we haven't heard many trade rumors of late. However, it appears as though once the lockout is lifted, the New York Mets will look to trade Jeff McNeil. Should the Cincinnati Reds attempt to make a deal?
McNeil, from 2018-2020, was one of the Mets' best players. A versatile fielder, McNeil hit .319/.383/.501 with 30 home runs, 117 RBIs, and an OPS+ of 139. Last season, however, McNeil's offensive statistics dropped off dramatically. The left-handed swinging McNeil hit just .251/.319/.360.
Should the Reds make a deal with the Mets for Jeff McNeil?
McNeil is not the best defensively for the Cincinnati Reds. Though McNeil can play the corner outfield and third base, his primary position throughout the majority of his career has been second base. Jonathan India has that position on lockdown.
However, with his defensive versatility and the likely implementation of the universal designated hitter, I'm sure he could find an everyday spot on Cincinnati's roster. The Reds have also been rumored to be shopping third basemen Eugenio Suárez and Mike Moustakas this offseason, though the market is likely to be very robust.
The Mets are rumored to be in the market for pitching depth, and it just so happens that Cincinnati is gauging the market for Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Tyler Mahle. With the likely ascension of Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Reiver Sanmartin, the Reds' trio of starters is deemed on the market; though the price for Castillo is said to be astronomical.
Jeff McNeil has a career bWAR of 11.2 and won't reach the free agent market for three more seasons. According to MLB Trade Rumors, McNeil is expected to take home $2.8M next season via arbitration.
The Reds would seem to be most in need of a right fielder to replace Nick Castellanos, who's unlikely to re-sign with Cincinnati. McNeil has just 42 starts in right field, but has played 127 games in left field.
It will be interesting, not so much if the Reds reach out to the Mets, but if New York gives Cincinnati a call. McNeil would be a cheaper option than any one of the Reds starters who are currently rumored to be on the trade block.
We've already seen the Cincinnati Reds deal Tucker Barnhart to the Detroit Tigers and allow Wade Miley to be claimed by the Chicago Cubs. With the emphasis on reducing spending, adding Jeff McNeil is certainly an option.