The Mets have not resumed contract extension talks with second baseman Neil Walker, and it’s doubtful they will before the offseason, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). New York would rather enter the winter with flexibility at various positions than commit to Walker, with whom it discussed a three-year deal in the $40MM range before tabling talks in February. Walker, 31, is on a $17.2MM salary after accepting a qualifying offer last fall, and has returned from a season-ending back injury in 2016 to post a decent .255/.327/.423 line in 168 plate appearances this year.
More from Rosenthal:
- Center fielder Lorenzo Cain might end up as the Royals’ most valuable trade asset in the coming months, posits Rosenthal, who relays that the team isn’t convinced first baseman Eric Hosmer would bring back a “sufficient return.” Hosmer’s hitting a solid .299/.362/.408 in 174 PAs, but that’s not great production relative to his position, and first base typically isn’t an in-demand area around the deadline, notes Rosenthal. The same goes for third base, which could make it difficult for the Royals to move Mike Moustakas – another of their high-profile impending free agents – for a sizable return. Meanwhile, pitchers Jason Vargas, Kelvin Herrera and Mike Minor are also names to watch as the Royals potentially prepare to sell.
- With a 25-18 record and a plus-43 run differential, the Diamondbacks don’t look like sellers in the making, admits Rosenthal. Nevertheless, the D-backs are going to have to replenish their barren farm system at some point, says Rosenthal, who reports they’re likely to entertain offers for center fielder A.J. Pollock and left-hander Patrick Corbin prior to the trade deadline and/or in the offseason. Both players are only signed for another year, putting their futures in question.
- As is the case with Arizona, Milwaukee has easily outperformed expectations thus far. The Brewers entered Saturday having posted the same record as Arizona (25-18, with a plus-34 run differential), and their success is a “potential nightmare” for general manager David Stearns, one executive told Rosenthal. It’s doubtful Stearns believes the franchise’s rebuild is complete, yet owner Mark Attanasio might push to add, not subtract, if Milwaukee hangs around the playoff race in the coming months, per Rosenthal. To their credit, the first-place Brewers currently rank among the majors’ top 10 teams in runs scored (second), wRC+ (eighth) and pitching fWAR (eighth).