The New York Mets are rewarding homegrown player Jeff McNeil after the slick hitter led the National League in batting in 2022.
The Mets and McNeil agreed on a four-year, $50 million contract extension through at least the 2026 season, according to multiple media reports Friday.
McNeil batted .326 last season in collecting his second All-Star Game honor as well as his first Silver Slugger award.
He has established his hitting credentials with a .307 career batting average in five years since making his debut at age 26 in 2018. Known for making contact more than the pop in his bat, the left-handed-hitting McNeil struck out only 61 times in 589 plate appearances and 533 at-bats in 2022. He has just 242 strikeouts in 2,039 plate appearances for his career.
A 2013 draft pick (12th round) by the Mets out of Long Beach State, McNeil turns 31 in April. He was slated for arbitration, where his request for $7.75 million this coming season was countered with the Mets’ $6.25 million offer, according to ESPN.
The new deal, pending him passing a physical, covers two seasons of arbitration eligibility and includes a fifth-year club option for 2027 that would make the total value $63.75 million, according to ESPN and Newsday.
ESPN and MLB.com reported that the average annual value of $12.5 million increases the club’s competitive balance tax bill and prompts a 90 percent tax on the additional average salary.
The franchise’s project tax for the entire player payroll is around $467 million, a major league record, ESPN reported.
McNeil, who also plays solid defense as a corner outfielder and third baseman, is slated to be the Mets’ starting second baseman. He has recorded 564 hits, including 121 doubles and 46 home runs, along with 214 RBIs in his major league career.