Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets acquisition of infielder Jed Lowrie on a two-year, $20 million deal that is still pending a physical crowds their infield, and has the potential to squeeze Jeff McNeil's playing time.
As a solution, the Mets plan to use McNeil in the outfield in 2019, according to a person familiar with the plans.
At the beginning of the offseason, McNeil was pencilled in as the starting second baseman. He was nearly shipped to Seattle in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade, but the Mets pulled him out of that deal at the last minute, and replaced him with reliever Gerson Bautista.
At that point, the team saw McNeil as a super-utility type, Wilmer Flores with better defense. But Lowrie will now play that role. The team still sees great potential in McNeil's bat, however, so it plans to use him both in the infield and outfield next year. With that additional option, Mickey Callaway should be able to find more playing time for McNeil.
McNeil played nine games in the outfield in his minor league career, for a total of 65 ½ innings. But the team believes that he has the speed and athleticism to adapt.