Mets’ up-and-down history with homegrown talent includes 2022 questions

What do the Mets have in Jeff McNeil and Dom Smith?

As Billy Eppler assembles his first Mets team, it remains a central mystery. 

If you were making a team of players who signed their first pro contract with the Mets, you would be asking that same question. Had you gone through that exercise after the shortened 2020 season, for example, you would view a lineup that had McNeil, Smith and Michael Conforto as being loaded with lefty impact.

But part of the Mets’ overall disappointment last year was that Conforto, McNeil and Smith went from a combined .918 OPS in 2020 to a .692 OPS in 2021. It is central to why the Mets have not pushed hard to re-sign Conforto in free agency and why they are contemplating whether to keep or trade McNeil and/or Smith — and, if the answer is keep them, in what roles?