The St. Louis Cardinals should pursue Jeff McNeil
By Brett Ramsey
With a recent report that the New York Mets could put utility player Jeff McNeil on the trade block, the St. Louis Cardinals should explore the possibility.
The St. Louis Cardinals still likely have some work to do once the lockout ends. While most of the emphasis has been placed on pitching, and probably still will be, they can’t ignore the offense. A historic 17 game winning streak might pull some wool over eyes but the offense could use some tinkering as well.
Many Cardinals fans are clamoring for a huge shortstop addition, like Carlos Correa or Trevor Story. That would certainly be a preferable route but since that seems unlikely, what are some other options for the Cardinals to improve the offense?
The answer to me is clear. The New York Mets might put utility man extraordinaire Jeff McNeil on the trade block. McNeil is a lefty bat who can play all over the field. He is 29 years of age and won’t be a free agent until 2025. Primarily a second baseman, he can also play outfield and third base. While not a big power bat, he has shown to be a great high average hitter. He hit well over .300 in 2018-2020, but regressed in 2021.
Could a bounce-back season be a possibility? McNeil can also hit towards the top of the order. Sure, he sounds like a similar player to current second baseman Tommy Edman in some ways. But he could be a really useful utility man and even an option at the leadoff spot in the batting order.
Assuming the designated hitter comes to the National League, McNeil could be a good fit for that role. Yeah, the DH is usually a place to slot a power hitting slugger who may not have a comfortable defensive position, but beyond that, it is a way to add a hitter to the lineup. Ignoring the home runs, McNeil is certainly a hitter. Also, it’s not like he can’t hit homers. He had 23 home runs in 2019.
A career .299 hitter, even after a 2021 season in which he hit .251, is always a good addition to the lineup. The Mets putting him on the trade block should interest the Cardinals, and many other teams. A left-handed hitter with positional flexibility should be something the Cardinals pursue.