Did Jeff McNeil Leave Money on the Table?
My first reaction when the news broke that Jeff McNeil signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Mets was “Really? That’s pretty cheap!” Now I’m not too sure.
If I had to peg a McNeil deal, I would have guessed five years, $90 million. That’s $18 million per year, which seems fair. The Mets got him for $12.5 million per year, which seems low to me.
McNeil had two years of arbitration left. He was going to make around $7 million this season, and probably $10 million the next year. Instead, he makes $25 million over those two seasons, so he is $8 million ahead. Split that among the last two years of his deal and we are at $16.5 million per year, which isn’t far off from the $18 million I thought was fair.
He would have hit free agency at the advanced age of 33, when the best he could have probably hoped for was a three-year deal. Let’s say he got that $18 million per year, for a total of $54 million. That means he would have made $71 million over the next five years, compared to the $63.75 million he could make over the same period if the Mets pick up his fifth year option.
Although it’s hard to say $7.25 million is nothing, it apparently was not enough for McNeil to gamble on his future. Now he has at least $50 million coming to him, guaranteed, regardless of what happens to him.
So while I still think the Mets made out like bandits on this one, upon closer inspection, McNeil didn’t do too badly himself.