The Mets will make a "good run" at re-signing 2B Neil Walker after this season, a team source told Kristie Ackert of the Daily News.
Walker, 30, was acquired before the season from the Pirates in exchange for LHP Jon Niese, who the Mets re-acquired last month.
"I like the players we have here, I like what I think we are building for this season and for years to come," Walker told Ackert.
Walker will earn $10.5 million this season, after which he can become a free agent.
He is hitting .268 with a .330 OBP, .449 SLG, 19 HR and 49 RBI this season this season.
I buy this, though I think it's far from a foregone conclusion now things play out...
Obviously, things changed after trading 2B prospect Dilson Herrera to the Reds for Jay Bruce. Because, prior to that deal, it was assumed the Mets would let Walker go, as Herrera would take over at second base. In fact, this is believed to be the plan that impacted whether they brought back Daniel Murphy, who wanted a three-year deal. Instead of giving the long-term commitment to Murphy, they let him walk, then traded for a year of Walker to bide time until Herrera was ready to take over in 2017. But, now Murphy is in DC and Herrera is with Cincinnati. So, here we are...
Interestingly, Walker will probably want at least similar contract to the three-year deal Daniel Murphy signed with the Nationals. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, assuming they don't change the system altogether, MLB estimates that the 2017 qualifying offer will be priced at $16.7 million, up $900,000 from last year. In that case, I assume the Mets will make Walker the qualifying offer, so - if he signs with a different team - they'll pick up an extra draft pick.
In the days after trading Herrera, Mets GM Sandy Alderson mentioned that Jose Reyes can be in the mix at second base next season, assuming the Mets pick up his option, which will pay him the league minimum. They also have Asdrubal Cebrara under contract at shortstop, and Wilmer Flores capable of playing third and second base, as well. The point is, the Mets have options next season, with or without Walker, not to mention other players available in trade and on the free agent market.