Mets: Could Francisco Lindor feud be driving Jeff McNeil trade talks?

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The New York Mets are shopping super-utility man Jeff McNeil on the trading block. Could his previous feud with Francisco Lindor be driving that decision-making?

McNeil is coming off a down season, in which he had just a .280 BABIP. That means some of McNeil’s decrease in production is simply bad luck, but he also made less hard contact on the season.

Mike Puma of the New York Post wrote that McNeil or Dominic Smith will be traded after the lockout. Trading players after a down year is a curious idea from new general manager Billy Eppler, leading some to believe that clubhouse moral issues are playing a role in the decision-making.

Mets rumors: Is Francisco Lindor feud driving Jeff McNeil talks?

McNeil’s fight with Lindor was highly-publicized, and reportedly led the the $300 million Mets star grabbing McNeil by the neck.

Both Lindor and McNeil joked about the altercation after the fact, calling it a rat/raccoon incident in the clubhouse. New York media quickly figured out the truth to that story.

McNeil’s defensive versatility makes him of more value than Smith. The utility-man can player multiple positions fairly well, and could even start of some teams. His ability to plug and play makes him an attractive asset around the league despite a down season.

Yet, wouldn’t holding onto him make more sense? If McNeil had another strong season offensively, he’d up his value immensely. McNeil made the All-Star team in 2019, slashing .318/.384/.531. He backed that up in a shortened 2020, but last year hit just .251/.319/.360.

It’s unlikely his feud with Lindor is still fresh on the Mets’ mind. Instead, New York may be trying to get rid of McNeil before he hits arbitration in 2024. There’s still plenty of value in his contract.

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