Mancuso: Mets Will Survive Without Neil Walker

Yes it is a blow to the New York Mets regarding the unexpected news of Neil Walker and season ending surgery to correct a herniated disk in his lover back. Thursday afternoon at Citi Field, Walker was disappointed that his Mets season was over and perhaps his tenure in New York.

There is no time frame on what the Mets will do pertaining to re-signing Walker for next season. That depends on offseason decisions for GM Sandy Alderson and the Mets hierarchy who were looking to ink Walker’s name on another contract.

But, the Mets during this September stretch and playoff run will handle this latest adversity. They have all season with the surmounting number of injuries which now includes two-thirds of their infield that was in the lineup on Opening Day. Walker will be missed from a standpoint of handling the plays at second, and matching a career high in home runs with 23.

That is production that is hard to replace, especially in a lineup of the home run friendly New York Mets. And when analyzing what the Mets did to get Walker in trading away Jonathon Niese and then reacquiring the lefthander, who also is done for the season, that could be considered as being breaks of the game.

The repercussions of Walker missing the remainder of the season: Adversity in the clubhouse of manager Terry Collins never hurt his team. That is credit to the leadership of Collins, and experience dealing with adversity does help. The manager thanked his players Tuesday night for dealing with the adversity after his team passed the Miami Marlins in the standings for the second wildcard in the National League.

“It was a very difficult decision,” Walker said in his meeting with the media prior to the Mets-Marlins series finale at Citi Field. “There were a lot of factors that were involved. The way the team was playing, The way I felt. I did everything I could.”

He added, “Twice I tried to play a couple of days, tried to give myself a couple of days off and the biggest issue with it was that it was hitting a nerve,” he said about the recurring back issue.

So Walker did what was best to help his team. The Mets have some depth to fill the void. The veteran Kelly Johnson, Wilmer Flores, and Jose Reyes can be there if needed. And it is reinforcement time as this is the September call-up period. Monday there will be more with the expected arrival again of TJ Rivera who has experience playing the position.

Will the Mets get the similar production at the plate? Probably not, but they will be fine unless someone significant in the role gets injured, and with this being the season of sick bay by the Flushing Bay, anything is possible.

But back in his mind, Alderson has to be shaking his head about making that trade deadline move that delivered Jay Bruce from the Reds.

Did anyone mention Dilson Herrera?

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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