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.

Guardians trade OF Will Benson to Reds for OF Justin Boyd

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Guardians traded outfielder Will Benson to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday for outfielder Justin Boyd.

The defending AL Central champions also will get a player to be named from the Reds in the swap.

Cincinnati drafted Boyd in the second round last year out of Oregon State. He led the Pac-12 with a .373 batting average and 24 steals in 2022. The 21-year-old batted .203 in 73 at-bats for Class-A Daytona.

The 6-foot-5 Benson spent 28 games with the Guardians last season, batting .182 with three RBIs in 28 games. The 24-year-old struggled at the plate, striking out 19 times in just 55 at-bats.

Benson was once considered one of Cleveland’s top outfield prospects, but has since been surpassed by Steven Kwan, Oscar Gonzalez and Will Brennan.