NEW YORK — Batting champion Jeff McNeil and the New York Mets finalized a $50 million, four-year contract Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

McNeil gets $6.25 million this year, $10.25 million in 2024 and $15.75 million in each of the following two years. The Mets have a $15.75 million option for 2027 with a $2 million buyout, a season that if exercised would make the agreement worth $63.75 million over five years.

He would get $100,000 for winning the World Series MVP, $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger or making the All-Star team. McNeil would receive a one-time $500,000 assignment bonus if traded, payable by the receiving team. He also gets a hotel suite on trips.

A two-time All-Star, McNeil led the majors with a .326 average last season. The second baseman asked for a raise from $3 million to $7.75 million this year, while New York offered $6.25 million.

He was the only one of seven Mets eligible for arbitration who did not agree to terms on a deal and formally exchanged salary proposals with the team at the Jan. 13 deadline.

But the sides settled on a multiyear agreement weeks later, avoiding arguments before a three-person panel in St. Petersburg, Florida.


McNeil, who turns 31 in April, could have become a free agent following the 2024 season but agreed to push that back at least two years, possibly three.

An excellent contact hitter and a versatile defender, McNeil also made 44 starts in the outfield last season: 33 in left field and 11 in right. He had an .836 OPS at the plate with nine home runs, 39 doubles and 62 RBIs in 148 games for a Mets team that made its first playoff appearance in six years.

He won a Silver Slugger Award and finished 15th in NL MVP voting.

McNeil is a .307 career hitter in 4 1/2 big league seasons with 46 homers and an .827 OPS. He has struck out only 242 times in 2,039 plate appearances.

McNeil was drafted by the Mets in the 12th round out of Long Beach State in 2013.

RAYS: Infielder Yandy Diaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.


Diaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

MARINERS: Diego Castillo and the Seattle Mariners went to salary arbitration, with the relief pitcher asking for $3,225,000 and the team offering $2.95 million.

Richard Bloch, Melinda Gordon and Brian Keller heard the case. A decision is expected Wednesday.

A 29-year-old right-hander, Castillo was 7-3 with a 3.64 ERA and seven saves in 59 relief appearances last year for the Mariners, who made the playoffs for the first time since 2001 and lost to eventual World Series champion Houston in the Division Series.

Castillo struck out 53 and walked 22 in 54 1/3 innings. He had a $2.15 million salary.


DEXTER FOWLER says he is retiring at age 36 after 14 major league seasons.

An All-Star outfielder in 2016 when he won a World Series title with the Chicago Cubs, Fowler hit .259 with 127 homers and 517 RBI. A 14th-round pick by Colorado in the 2004 amateur draft, Fowler played for the Rockies (2008-13), Houston (2014), the Cubs (2015-16), St. Louis (2017-20) and the Los Angeles Angels (2021).

Fowler signed a minor league contract with Toronto last March 31. He went 5 for 12 (.417) with three RBI in three games for Triple-A Buffalo from April 28-30, then was released on May 3.

“From an 18-year-old draft pick in Colorado to a ‘vet’ in Anaheim – there are a few things I will never forget,” Fowler wrote on Twitter. “Getting THAT call to the big leagues in September 2008. Wow. My world was spinning. My first `you’ve been traded to Houston’ heart pounding call. The feeling of bliss while hearing the words `All-Star.’ … Soaking wet and freezing on the field with tears in my eyes after winning the World Series in Chicago. … I’m mostly proud to look back at my career knowing that I played the game the right way and did my best to make a positive impact beyond the win.”

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