One practice that the New York Mets didn’t do nearly enough at the end of the Wilpon’s tenure as owners was extend their own players early. After deals for David Wright, Juan Lagares and Jon Niese backfired, the Mets only completed one extension for Jacob deGrom, allowing players like Zack Wheeler and Michael Conforto to reach free agency. New owner Steve Cohen appears set to correct that philosophy and the first step of that came today as the team agreed to a four-year extension with second baseman Jeff McNeil, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports.
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
McNeil is coming off a banner season for the Mets, hitting .326 to win the National League’s batting title and bouncing back from a rough 2021 in style. Passan reports that the extension talks started after the two sides could not agree to an arbitration figure, which lead to discussions about buying out McNeil’s remaining arbitration years along with a few free agency years as well.
An extension made long-term sense for McNeil, who was not eligible to hit free agency until after 2024, which would have meant a team signing him for his age 33-season and beyond. The free agent market usually isn’t kind to players in McNeil’s age range that don’t hit for power so an extension offered him a nice raise and job security while the Mets have a reasonable contract on the books for one of their core players.
The deal also contains a fifth-year option that would bring the total value of the contract to $63.75 million, which would keep McNeil in New York through his age-35 season. It will be interesting to see if this spurs extension talks with Pete Alonso, who is also slated to be a free agent after 2024 and is now the face of the franchise after deGrom left in free agency.