Two free agents down and Yoenis Cespedes to go.
After losing Bartolo Colon last week to Atlanta, the Mets will have one of their key cogs back next season, as second baseman Neil Walker accepted the clubs qualifying offer and is effectively signed for the 2017 season.
Walker will receive $17.2 million for his troubles.
It’s a move that is beneficial for both sides. Coming off surgery for a herniated disk, Walker could have had a tough time getting a longer term contract, especially with the weight of draft pick compensation hanging over head. Last year, for example, Ian Desmond had to wait until the beginning of Spring Training to sign with the Texas Rangers for much less than the $15.8 million QO.
So you can see how Walker, who seemed to like it here in New York, jumped on the offer.
Walker hit .282 last season with 23 homers and 55 RBI before opting for season ending back surgery after Aug. 27.
And the Mets benefitted as well. General manager Sandy Alderson has an aversion to signing players to longer term contracts, because of the injury risks involved. So paying a slight premium for a one-year deal with Walker just simply works.
Maybe the Mets marketing staff should make the 2017 team motto: “It’s not about the money, but the time.”
Speaking of time, the Mets are still working on a deal with Cespedes. Sources tell NY Sports Day’s Rich Mancuso, the Mets are feeling more and more confident in re-signing their slugger, since the market seems to be presenting itself slowly.
Unlike Walker, Cespedes turned down the Mets QO and is expected to sign a longer term contract. Reportedly, the Mets are looking for a four-year contract, while the Cespedes camp is looking for at least five.
Alderson reportedly would like the Cespedes scenario wrapped up by the Winter Meetings in three weeks.
At that time, sources are telling Mancuso the Mets may look to make a trade or two, looking to move Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson, while bringing in another big bat to complement the Cuban slugger.
The hot stove is just heating up in Queens.