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Mets transitioning Jeff McNeil to outfield

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With the additions of Robinson Canó and Jed Lowrie during the offseason and the return of Amed Rosario and Todd Frazier, the Mets’ infield is spoken for at all four positions. That leaves Jeff McNeil, who played 54 of his 58 games at second base last season, on the outside looking in.

Per Matt Ehalt of The Record, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said in an interview on WFAN about McNeil, “His focus in spring training is going to be a transition to the outfield because we think we can be a lethal lineup with a McNeil, [Michael] Conforto, [Brandon] Nimmo outfield against right-handed pitching.”

McNeil, 26, last played the outfield regularly in college. He said, “It’s been a while since I’ve played games, but just about every day in the minor leagues I was taking fly balls. For the most part, I feel really comfortable and I felt really comfortable there when I played in college. That was a while ago, but I had some games out there last year. I played really well out there, so I’m not too worried.”

Last season, McNeil hit a highly productive .329/.381/.471 in 248 plate appearances. Albeit in a small sample size, McNeil didn’t show much of a platoon split in 2018, posting an .866 OPS against right-handers and .812 against lefties. It sounds like the Mets are hoping to get him work in left field initially since it’s the easiest of the three outfield positions to learn.

Red Sox want to trade Jackie Bradley Jr.

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Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are actively trying to trade outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. In fact, the Mets were discussing such a trade with the Mets before they ultimately acquired Jake Marisnick from the Astros last week.

The Red Sox have made it no secret that they plan to reduce payroll. They’re currently above $218 million, about $10 million above the competitive balance tax threshold. Bradley is projected to earn $11.5 million in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility.

While Bradley continued to play above-average defense, his offense has left a bit to be desired. He has an aggregate adjusted OPS of 90 over the past three seasons (100 is average), matching his mark of 90 in 2019 specifically. Bradley hit .225/.317/.421 with 21 home runs, 62 RBI, and 69 runs scored in 567 plate appearances.

Since an acquiring team would likely be on the hook for most or all of Bradley’s salary, the Red Sox wouldn’t get much in return in a trade. With the Mets out of the picture, the Cubs and Diamondbacks are a couple of teams that could match up with the Red Sox on a trade involving Bradley.