As momentum picks up around a potential Mets-Mariners trade that would net both Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, a new name has emerged as a target for Seattle. According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, second baseman Jeff McNeil has come up in discussions as a possible big-league name heading west.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, backs up the report by Mayo, saying that McNeil is in play.
Though an unranked prospect coming into 2018 – his age-26 season no less – McNeil hit .329/.381/.471 with 19 RBI and seven stolen bases in 63 games last year. His 137 wRC+ ranked 22nd in the majors, finishing ahead of Jose Altuve, Bryce Harper, and Khris Davis, and he is under team control through 2025. He also posted 2.4 bWAR in that short span.
McNeil joins a trio of former-first round draft picks as possible names in whom the Mariners have expressed interest, with David Peterson (LHP, 20th overall in 2017) being cited by Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports as a possible target alongside Justin Dunn (RHP, 19th overall in 2016) and Jarred Kelenic (OF, sixth overall in 2018), who were both first reported to be on the table by The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal.
Kelenic, 19, currently ranks highest among the three prospects in MLB Pipeline‘s organizational rankings, and, per a rival scout (originally tweeted by John Harper of SNY), “he has a chance to be a superstar.” Another scout told Harper (paraphrased) that, in parting with Kelenic, the Mets would be “making [a] big mistake.”
The Wisconsin native hit .286/.371/.468 between separate rookie ball affiliates in the Mets’ organization, hitting six homers and driving in 42 while stealing 15 bases and totaling nine outfield assists.