Coming down to the 5 p.m. deadline, second baseman Neil Walker has accepted the Mets one-year $17.2 million qualifying offer. Walker posted on Twitter on Monday afternoon: “Happy to say I’m back in Orange and Blue for 2017!! Let’s go Mets!”
While Yoenis Cespedes obviously declined the Mets qualifying offer, there had been recent speculation stating that Walker was contemplating accepting the offer, which he indeed now has done. The 31-year old second baseman was having one of the best seasons of his career before his season was cut short in August due to a herniated disk in his back. Walker was hitting .282 with 23 home runs and 55 RBIs in 113 games played for the Mets this season.
This move puts $17.2 million on the Mets books for the 2017 season, and also entrenches Walker as the Mets starting second baseman for next season. Expectations will be high for Walker after the performance he displayed last season, and it is not unreasonable to believe he replicates that season as he is again playing for another contract. The big question with Walker will be health. We will have to see how Walker’s back holds up throughout the duration of the season after undergoing a lumbar microdiscectomy in September. The Mets haven’t had the best of luck in dealing with back injuries recently, so we will all hold out hope that Walker’s 2017 rebound from surgery will be a much more seamless transition.