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.
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. Continue reading
The Mets announced some troubling news this afternoon as Steven Matz has had a setback with his shoulder strain and will no longer pitch Thursday night. At this point the Mets are hopeful that Matz will resume throwing eventually and pitch next week, but manager Terry Collins is not as optimistic. There certainly is a fear from Collins that Matz may not pitch for the rest of the season with this latest setback. Matz had told reporters that an MRI of his shoulder revealed no structural damage but did show irritation of his rotator cuff. Jacob deGrom will move up a day from his scheduled start on Friday, and pitch in Matz’s place on Thursday. Matz has not pitched since August 14th when he one-hit the San Diego Padres through 7.1 innings of work.
Collins also expressed a lot of concern for Neil Walker and his back issue, as Walker is out of the starting lineup for the third straight game. Collins suggested that Walker will have to manage his injury from here on out if he wants any shot of playing down the stretch, and it could be a real possibility the second baseman could be lost for the season. It’s certainly frustrating news which seems to come once a day from the Mets, as Walker has clearly been the Mets second best offensive player this season. Even if Walker is able to play down the stretch, the way Collins made his injury sound, he may not be an everyday player. The 30-year old second baseman was slashing .389 with six home runs and ten RBIs in 18 games during the month of August.
In unrelated news the Mets demoted pitcher Rafael Montero to Double-A Binghamton, and recalled right-handed pitcher Logan Verrett from Triple-A Las Vegas. It’s a bit surprising that the Mets brought up another pitcher instead of opting for depth on a thin bench. Verrett will provide the Mets with a fresh arm out of the bullpen. The 26-year old right-hander has produced a 3-8 record with a 5.36 ERA in 85.2 innings pitched at the MLB level this season.
The Mets have placed second baseman Neil Walker on paternity leave, as he has left the team to be with his wife back in Pittsburgh for the birth of their first child. He is expected to be out for the entirety of the series in St. Louis. Walker will rejoin the team in New York on Friday when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Walker has been red hot over the past month as he has hit .379 with five home runs and nine RBIs in August. Congratulations are in order for the Walker family on the birth of their first child!
The Mets will promote recently demoted infielder T.J. Rivera from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Walker’s spot on the roster for the next three games. The leading hitter in the Pacific Coast League, Rivera will return to a .355 batting line with the Mets in 31 plate appearances.
- Catcher Travis d’Arnaud made his first appearance behind the plate last night on his current rehab assignment. D’Arnaud caught 7 innings last night for Port St. Lucie at Dunedin. He went 2-4 with a double, one run scored, two RBI’s and one walk. He allowed two stolen bases. D’Arnaud is hitting .273 (6-22) with four RBI and five walks in five rehab games with Port St. Lucie. He was placed on the 15-Day DL on April 26 with a right rotator cuff strain. Manager Terry Collins expects d’Arnaud to return in”7-8 days,” and he is expected to catch a full nine innings with Port St. Lucie tomorrow, before moving his rehab assignment to a higher affiliate.
- Manager Terry Collins is sitting outfielder Michael Conforto today due to wrist soreness. While the injury isn’t believed to be serious, Collins believes the day off could provide the struggling Conforto some good both physically and mentally. Collins told the media that he will put Conforto back in the starting lineup when they resume play on Tuesday.
- Second baseman Neil Walker is not in today’s lineup after leaving yesterday’s game in the third inning with a lower-back injury. Walker is taking anti-inflammatory medication in hopes that he can return to the field as soon as Tuesday, after the Mets day off tomorrow.