9:10pm: While a long-term deal with Walker remains possible, it doesn’t seem likely that the Mets will pursue extensions with any of their young starters, Carig reports in a full column. None of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz or Matt Harvey has approached the team about a long-term deal, and the Mets haven’t been especially proactive in initiating talks given recent injury issues for most of their young arms.
With the exception of Syndergaard, who reportedly pitched much of 2016 with a small bone spur in his right elbow, each of the other three arms is fewer than nine months removed from notable surgery.
Harvey underwent an operation to remove a rib in order to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome last summer, while deGrom had his ulnar nerve repaired shortly thereafter. Matz went under the knife to remove more significant bone spurs than the one that briefly troubled Syndergaard, and he had shoulder issues late in the 2016 season as well.
10:54am: When he accepted the Mets’ $17.2MM qualifying offer last fall, second baseman Neil Walker resolved his status for the coming season, but both he and the club left open the possibility of reaching a longer-term accommodation. While there’s no agreement as yet, the sides have continued to discuss a new contract in the ensuing months, Walker told reporters including MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter links).
Citing the “potential” for a long-term accord, the 31-year-old switch hitter seemingly suggested that there will be an ongoing effort over the course of the spring to pursue a deal. As Marc Carig of Newsday notes on Twitter, it appears that the “situation looks favorable” for the sides to come together and once again keep Walker from reaching the open market. Indeed they almost reached a three-year pact when Walker was weighing the qualifying offer, according to a report from Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. And the sides continued talking later in the offseason, Carig adds via Twitter. Both reporters peg the general contract chatter in the three-year, $40MM range.
The veteran second baseman also noted that he’s preparing to try out some other infield positions this spring. He’ll spend at least some time at both third and first base, it seems, which could expand his and the organization’s options in the near term and beyond. With David Wright’s health still a question mark moving forward and Lucas Duda set to hit the open market after the 2017 campaign, Walker could conceivably become a factor in the corner infield at some point.
Beyond those two spots, the Mets are largely unsettled in the middle infield beyond the coming season. The club holds an option over shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and will hope to see continued strides from prospects Amed Rosario and Gavin Cecchini, though it’s still possible to imagine a need at that position in 2018. Both Walker and Jose Reyes are slated for free agency next fall, and the club dealt away one possible replacement in Dilson Herrera. Though Wilmer Flores remains an option around the infield, he has mostly been utilized in a part-time role, and it’s likely that the organization sees other possibilities such as T.J. Rivera and Matt Reynolds in a similar light.
Given that mix, it’s not surprising to hear that New York has interest in retaining Walker for the future. He has a lengthy track record of steadily above-average offensive production, drew some of the best grades of his career for his fielding in 2016, and says he’s feeling better than he has in quite some time since undergoing season-ending back surgery late last season. Of course, the sides will need to settle on a price and term of years; the single-season QO value is a lofty target for an average payout, though perhaps Walker could command something approaching that level over three or (much less likely) four years. Recent deals that could provide guidance include those reached between Justin Turner and the Dodgers (four years, $64MM), Daniel Murphy and the Nationals (three years, $37.5MM), and Ben Zobrist and the Cubs (four years, $56MM).
At first glance, I thought it was a bad idea for the Mets….but if he can add some versatility to his role on the team, 3yrs at 35mil or even 4 at 40 doesn’t seem like a bad thing for them. If I were the Mets I’d be thinking GG types up the middle, then hit the corners with power. Meh. Glad I’m not a fan of the team.
Your last sentence doesn’t really make sense. The team has the best young starting rotation in baseball and tons of talent between AAA and the 25-man roster. Moreover, Keith Law ranked their farm system 7th overall. I don’t see why you’re “glad to not be a fan” of a 90-win team with a strong farm system.
They have a GG type coming at SS in Rosario, he’ll be up soon. No idea why you “wouldn’t want to be a fan”, in the last two years they went to a WS and managed a WC birth with their entire team hurt.
They have a great young pitching staff under control for quite a while, and a host of position players on the way.
Why would you not want to be a fan of a team that recently won the NL pennant, made the WC on a decimated roster, has the potentially the best rotation in baseball, the 7th best farm system which includes a Top 5 overall SS? Dumb.
Everyone already told you your comment was dumb, so instead of repeating those words I must ask, “are you a Nats fan or something?”
And why would anyone want to be a fan of the Nats, who’s own players question their fan base and can’t win a 5 game series
Why now? He needs to show he can come back from serious back surgery first.
There is no need to do this. Resign Jose Reyes after the season and decline/trade Asdrubal Cabrera. Go into the season with Smith, Rivera,Wright, Rosario. With Reyes and Flores back up infielders. Keep the 17+ Million and spend it somewhere else,
Both Cabrera and Walker are better than José Reyes. Why would they keep the worst hitter of the three?
Neither walker or Cabrera would accept a bench role.
Long term deal for a 31 year old with a history of back problems? This ain’t gonna happen.
Oh I’m sure you know. That’s why it’s being reported that IRS being discussed because you’re sure it’s not gonna happen
Lol, that’s a great typo.
It is a great typo, but it was taxing to read.
What’s “long-term” to you? It’s certainly possible he receives a 4 year extention. That’s pretty long-term given what it takes to get 5 years in the current market.
This is why I was ok with the Pirates letting Neil go. Not worth the risk with his history of back problems for a small to mid market team. I hope Neil can play and put up great numbers to show he was worth such a contract. Just not worth the risk unless you are comfortable eating a large contract with no return
It wouldn’t be a large contract at all – he’d be looking at $30 or $40 million, not ≥$100 million.
Indeed. Damn Wilpons have everyone thinking like we’re freaking Cincy! Oh no, not 3/$40! That’s our budget for the decade! We’re a big market team, for chrissakes…
Exactly 3-4 years 40-54 million is not a big deal to the Mets is not as huge of a deal to have to eat if Neil’s back goes again as it would be for over half of the major league teams. To eat 30 million would hurt a team like the Bucs., Reds, Indians, Twins, Mets or Yanks, Cubs or Dodgers.
They could potentially insure this contract for his back problem. It’d be more expensive than normal but not awful.
Curious case of the former pirates player that has ties to the late great Clemente
I was really hoping he’d be a life time pirates player
He is quite talented but based on the q/o is he really worth an extension at rate, or would they try to go a lot lower?
Never heard that before. What are his ties with the legendary Roberto (whom I saw and admired for years…)?
Neil’s dad was nearly on the plane that took Clemente’s life, but Clemente told him to go home and enjoy the evening instead of coming to help.
Wow. Such a twist of fate. Thanks.
Perhaps Mets may seek to lower his 2017 salary with an extension. Something around Murphy 3yrs. 37 mill. He could shift 1st unless they feel Dom Smith is the real deal. Reyes could return as UT guy but eventually they need to figure out what to do with this INF and OF depth.
Walker grew up a catcher who went to third then to second. When he was a Pirate i wanted him to move to first.
Good guy.. keep him healthy and he is a great guy to have on the team.. Wish there was room for him back on the Bucs roster 🙁
Walker was supposedly unwilling to chance positions, after 2015, which is what led to him being traded. He could have moved to first last year and the Pirates wouldn’t have had to sign Jaso. The Pirates offered him a 3/30 extension which he turned down and he countered with 2/22. He was traded shortly after that. As a Pirates fan I loved Walker and wanted him to stay, but apparently he was a real douche.
He’s willing to change now, is working out at 1B and 3B this spring.
I remember the front office that didn’t want him to move to first because it was ‘unfair’ to the player to ask him to change positions in the last year of his deal.
What lead them to that decision i don’t know.
Everything I’ve ever heard or seen is that Neil’s not a good guy, he’s a great guy.
But he has a bad back. It was known years before he was traded. For some reason’s fans kept ignoring that to wonder why they wouldn’t resign him.
I hope the Mets pay him.
I love it when other teams overpay players I liked here….see Staal, Orpik and Niskanen for other examples.
Just trade Jay Bruce for Dilson Herrera, saves money and adds youth!
and the reds say no instantly
No. TJRivera and Cecchini are already being squeezed out of PT as it is. Rosario will be here soon too. No need for this, even if he can play 3b1b, they can do better than him. Just enjoy this last season, use him all over the diamond and let him go. Ok thanks.
Not sure why the Mets would want to extend him and letting Murphy go…Flores, Rivera, Cecchini would be fine replaceMets.
Nobody could’ve predicted the season Murphy had and I seriously doubt he will replicate last season’s numbers. If he does, well, holy $&!+, good for him.
Absolutely, but they let Murphy go with the intention of having Herrera come up and we know how that ended. They have more depth now at 2nd base.
Should have just paid Daniel Murphy.
Or held on to Dilson Herrera.
the mets are still paying Bobby Bonilla $1mm year.
I know I was going to post something like that also…..lol….Bonilla took them the long haul. Didn’t they do something like that with Strawberry also?
3 @ $40 on top of the $17.2 this season? I like Walker, but no thanks….I would consider 3 @ $40 if this year was included, however. Mets have Grandy, Bruce, Duda, Reed,
Sorry, Sandy, don’t agree. with you (again) Save the (limited) budget for Syndergaard and Degrom. You can always find a replacement for Walker.
OMG, loooooong rebuild finally got us an awesome young rotation, and now management/ownership is going to ensure we have it for as little time as possible. I understand not extending all of them, especially the most health-challenged, but none? How about comparing the risk of signing a guy who gets hurt to losing 3 (or god-forbid, all 4) to FA?! Does anyone seriously think they’ll pony up for more than 1 once they’re bidding against others (assuming the Wilpons don’t die & leave the team to a good owner – not wishing actual death, of course)? I have a horrible premonition of multiple “we just can’t keep everyone at these prices” statements as 1 after another leaves, with no reference to the current opportunity to lock 3 up at reduced prices BECAUSE they have injury risks.
I’d love to see the Mets give him a deal similar to what Murph was given, something in the 3/$37-40m range. Solid bat with good defense. He’ll be a great anchor up the middle, especially when Rosario comes up.