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.
The New York Mets have outrighted both utility player Eric Campbell and reliever Jim Henderson off of the 40-man roster after both players cleared through waivers. It’s a move that doesn’t come as much of a surprise as both Campbell and Henderson struggled this season for the Mets, despite the latter player beginning the season strong.
Eric Campbell hit .173 with one home run and nine RBI’s for the Mets this season in 75 at-bats. While it wasn’t a huge sample size, the Mets have seen plenty of Campbell over parts of the past three seasons to know what they had. The 29-year old has been a career .221 hitter during his three seasons with the big league club, although he has been known to tear the cover off the ball in a hitters heaven, also known as Triple-A Las Vegas. He is a career .322 hitter over four seasons in Triple-A. Campbell more likely than not will elect minor league free agency, and will look to either latch back on with the Mets, or compete for a spot on another organization’s bench. While Campbell has the versatility to play all over the diamond, his bat never could quite catch up to Major League pitching, despite his impressive 2014 campaign where he posted a .263 average.
Jim Henderson came on strong for the Mets in Spring Training back in March, as he made the ballclub on a low-risk minor league deal. Henderson got off to a hot start as he posted a 1.08 ERA over twelve appearances in the first month of the season. However he could not stay healthy and ultimately would be hurt by ineffectiveness as the season wore on. The 29-year old reliever ended the season with a 4.37 ERA, while also being sidelined for two months with bicep tendinitis and a hamstring strain. The former Brewers closer will look to latch on with another organization on a minor league deal after his disappointing 2016 campaign.
The New York Mets have informed outfielder Jay Bruce that they have picked up his $13 million option for the 2017 season. The Mets have all but prepared for Yoenis Cespedes to opt out of his contract and enter free agency, which leaves Bruce as a viable replacement if no new deal can be reached between both parties. The $13 million price tag that follows Bruce could actually be considered a bargain due to the high-priced contracts that are going to be handed out this winter to many position players.
The Mets as of right now don’t seem to have a specific plan for Bruce heading into the 2017 season. Bruce’s fate essentially lies in the hands of Cespedes, who is expected to enter free agency, and the organization is going to see what happens on that front before deciding what to do with the 29-year old slugger. Bruce never fit like the Mets originally envisioned when he was acquired, as he hit a lowly .219 with eight home runs and 19 RBI’s in 50 games played. A far cry from the numbers he was putting up for the Cincinnati Reds prior to the Trade Deadline, as he was leading the National League in numerous offensive categories.
If Cespedes returns to the Mets, Bruce will become expendable and more likely than not will be traded to fill other holes on the roster. Basically all in all, while Bruce’s option has been picked up by the Mets, there is still no guarentte that he will be on the Opening Day lineup come 2017. It will be a wait and see approach regarding the Mets outfield from here on out and it begins with Yoenis Cespedes decision.