After last night’s thrilling victory against the Miami Marlins, thanks in large part to Kelly Johnson, the Mets made some major moves and some minor that will have implications on the rest of their season.
Shortly after last night’s victory Terry Collins came out and told the press that Neil Walker would be undergoing season-ending back surgery, which didn’t come as much of a surprise considering the reports of his condition worsening over the past few days. It also isn’t a surprise because this is something we’ve become accustomed to all season. The continuing lower-back trouble has caused Walker to have weakness in one of his leg’s and numbness in his foot. After having multiple doctor’s view Walker’s MRI, it was deemed that the best course of action would be surgery. Walker had the potential to have his condition worsen if surgery wasn’t an immediate option which made it a forgone conclusion that he would go under the knife. The official procedure that Walker will undergo is called a microdiscectomy to repair a herniated disk. He will have a three-month recovery period with expectation he will make a full recovery and be ready for next season.
Right now there is no indication as to whether this operation sways the Mets decision in anyway to re-sign the free agent to be, but he surely will be given a qualifying offer to net the Mets some kind of compensation if he walks. Walker was easily the Mets second best offensive player this season despite having somewhat of an up and down season. The 30-year old second baseman finishes his season with a .282 average with 23 home runs and 55 RBIs. The Mets will look to Wilmer Flores, Kelly Johnson, and potentially T.J. Rivera and Ty Kelly to replace Walker in the everyday lineup.
The Mets then announced a pair of trades shortly after that dreaded announcement. First the Mets made a minor trade by sending AAA Las Vegas catcher Nevin Ashley to the Texas Rangers for cash. They also then made a bullpen altering move by trading for reliever Fernando Salas from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for minor league pitcher Erik Manoah.
The acquisition of Salas is a solid pickup, as he can easily slide into the 7th inning role for the Mets, and he will be eligible for the postseason since he was acquired before midnight. The 31-year old reliever has posted a 4.47 ERA and six saves in 56.1 innings for the Angels but actually has pitched much better than those numbers suggest as of late. In his past 17.1 innings pitched, Salas has a 2.60 ERA with 18 strikeouts and seven walks. Salas isn’t going to blow any hitters away with strikeouts as he is a strictly ground ball pitcher, but with him pitching well as of late, and the Mets needing as much depth in the bullpen as possible it was a solid move. The 31-year old right-hander is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season, and the team is only responsible for $419 K of his $2.4 million salary. This move reminds me a lot of Addison Reed’s acquisition last August, and hopefully he becomes a positive contributor to the Mets bullpen down the stretch. It also doesn’t hurt that he has closing experience, as he has been filling in as the Angels closer since Huston Street went down.
In a final move the Mets transferred outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the 60-day DL with shoulder discomfort, which all but ends his 2016 campaign. The 34-year old outfielder was a nice pickup by the front office but ultimately two trips on the disabled list in a month for him, did him in. I wouldn’t mind the Mets bringing Ruggiano back to compete in Spring Training, as he was a useful player when he was healthy. His season ends with only 24 at-bats for the Mets and a .333 batting average with two home runs and seven RBIs.