Let’s trade for Jeff McNeil

As yous know, I like hypothetical trades. Usually though, my guy Chorizy and I like to get in the lab and make them up of our own volition. I don’t generally try and make a trade out of internet rumors, but since COVID is ravaging the country again and baseball is in a lockout, consider this a nice one-off exception.

This picture is from the Athletic (and is awesome!)

According to numerous sources (including the SI article linked HERE) the Mets are “Open” to trading Jeff McNeil. McNeil is materially a Second Baseman by trade and the White Sox have a bit of a crevice at the keystone, so there would appear to at least be a nominal fit here. Below is a cut out of McNeil’s career stats.

These numbers are from Fangraphs

The numbers above, from fangraphs.com are pretty compelling. Other than his down 2021 season, McNeil has been an above league average hitter his entire career. He’s a left handed hitter, which fits nicely into the White Sox predominantly right handed hitting lineup and he strikes out far less than league average. In total he seems to be a good fit for a terrific White Sox team that desires materially his skills.

Picture from Wikipedia, which MySoxSummer paid $3.16 to keep afloat

Okay, what about his fucked up 2021 season. Can’t ignore that. From digging in deeper, it doesn’t look like much of a decline in hitting the ball hard, or barrels. His BABIP shot down in 2021, that looks like it is driven partially by an increased infield fly ball rate (not great) and the rest by bad luck as he doesn’t seem a likely candidate to extreme shifts as he uses the entire field.

All of this seems pretty good. So I gots to ask, why is McNeil available? Let me throw that into the old google machine.

Is Jeff McNeil an Asshole?

Haha!! Not so fast on this one, however, I think it is a sort of a key as to why Jeff McNeil might be available to the highest bidder if and when the MLB and MLBPA can come to an acceptance of terms. The Mets also have Robinson Cano coming back from his 18th drug suspension and they went out and inked Eduardo Escobar to a free agent deal before the transactional freeze.

This in conjunction with having JD Davis who can play 3B (one of Escobar’s positions as well), they seem to be flush with options at the keystone. Add in top prospect Ronny Mauricio and you don’t even really need to ask the question about Jeff’s personality. But we should anyway, just in case. Below is an excerpt from the SI article I linked above. He said / He said, but still it might be a clue as to why ole Jeff could be changing zip codes in 2022.

YMMV on these types of things. I do know one thing though, when you get into it on the regular with one of the franchise players, you aren’t likely to win that battle. Gotta figure common sense would weigh in at some point. So this is likely a strike against old Jeff, however, I’m still not entirely deterred from making an overture at his skill set. This team has a strong clubhouse and the ghost of White Sox past has faded a player or two largely defined as a jerk-off.

Image from your memories, but for copyright purposes from the AP

So let’s say we think Jeff’s dip in production was just some bad luck and rough timing. Also, let’s say that his noncompliance with team suggestions and personality clashes with the Mets $340 million dollar shortstop were just misunderstandings. Then we got to actually get down to offering something. I am hearing that the Mets want pitching, but that’s kinda meaningless, everyone wants pitching.

Trade Idea #1 for Jeff McNeil

Garrett Crochet for Jeff McNeil straight up. This is the one deal I could think of roster to roster, with no additional parts that could possibly work. McNeil is heading into Arb year #1 in 2022 and per MLB Trade Rumors is predicted to ink $2.8M. Crochet is still on his pre-arb contract so he’s only earning the league minimum. Not that these small dollar amounts matter that much, Steve Cohen is spending more on payroll than Monte Brewster.

Regardless, in Crochet, the Mets would have a multitude of options. They could park him back in AA and start making him a starting pitcher. They could toss him in a bullpen that is dying for lack of power southpaws and make him a force in the late innings. He’s an immediate fit to the Mets.

The White Sox already have Aaron Bummer as lefty #1 out of the bullpen and Second Base is just more of a pressing need right now. Something like this could make immediate sense for both teams.

Trade Idea #2 for Jeff McNeil

Picture from CiberCuba.com

What about a prospect trade? The Mets seem like they are actively trying to become the Dodgers in which they always compete with a high, big market payroll AND they always dedicate resources to a farm that continues to stock that major league contender. Why not make a trade that nets you some minor league talent for some current roster excess? For Steve Cohen, he’s already several standard deviations in payroll above the normal rent seeking major league owner, why not accumulate talent everywhere and keep spending?

I took a quick look at the Fangraphs updated 2021 prospect list for the Mets and they are sorely lacking in outfield talent. They legit had 1 player listed as an outfielder in their top 24 prospects. Let’s get them some high upside outfield talent that they won’t be harvesting for a few seasons.

Yoelqui Cespedes, Caleb Freeman and Chase Krogman for Jeff McNeil. That’s 2 outfielders with varying upsides and years until they require Rule 5 protection and an arm to boot. I know a lot of you are aroused at the possibilities for Cespedes, but we have to offer something the other team might want. You’ll notice I didn’t include Gavin Sheets here. He’s been a revelation, but I didn’t include him because the Mets already have a Gavin Sheets type (Dominic Smith) and they seem open to trading that player, so I didn’t see the fit there.

Got some thoughts on what would make a Jeff McNeil trade happen? Lay them on me. Don’t want old Jeff because of his New York hijinx, lay that on me too!!

-BeefLoaf

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