With Neil Walker now a free agent, nobody really knows where the switch-hitting second baseman will be playing baseball in 2017, but the New York Mets should be fine if he does leave the orange and blue.
One of the many talented players on the New York Mets 2016 roster whose season was cut short due to a season-ending injury was first year Met second baseman, Neil Walker. Walker joined the Mets prior to the 2016 season coming into the final season of his contract after spending his first six big league seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Coming to New York on December 9 last year in the trade that sent long time Mets left-handed pitcher, Jonathon Niese to Pittsburgh, Walker was everything the Mets could have asked for and more before going down with season-ending surgery to remove a herniated disk in his back. In 113 games in his contract season, Walker batted .282 with 23 home runs, 55 RBIs, and a .347 On Base Percentage.
It is no secret that the Mets got great production at second base when Walker was on the field, but if Walker does leave the Mets via free agency this winter, second base should still be a position of strength for the Mets in 2017 as this team has many reliable internal options for second base.
It would be great if the Mets can re-sign Neil Walker and have him be the everyday second baseman the next few years, but the truth is the Mets have a few other things they need to address this offseason before they should even consider resigning Walker. Some of these things the Mets need to address this winter includes re-signing Yoenis Cespedes (if he opts out of his current contract), finding a new potential everyday catcher and possibly adding another relief pitcher.
So, with this being said, I just can’t see Walker returning to the Mets in 2017, which can open the door for some other internal options at second base for the Mets next season including players such as Jose Reyes, T.J. Rivera, and Wilmer Flores
Jose Reyes could see some time at second base next season due to David Wright returning to third base next season after missing the final four months of the 2016 season. If Wright is ready for opening day 2017, manager Terry Collins should still try to find a way to get Reyes in the lineup on a daily basis as Reyes was such an important presence at the top of the batting order.
In 60 games since joining the Mets midway through the season, Reyes batted .267 with eight home runs, 24 RBI, a .326 OBP, and nine stolen bases, providing the Mets some much-needed speed out of the leadoff spot.
Another Met who could see some time at second base next season, if Walker does not return to the team, is the guy who replaced him throughout the final month of the season after he went down with his season-ending back surgery. That guy is the
That guy is the 27-year-old Bronx native, T.J. Rivera. Rivera was a huge reason why the Mets made the postseason this year as he batted .333 with three home runs, 16 RBIs, and a .345 OBP in 33 regular season games. So if Walker is not with the Mets next season, it could potentially open the door for Rivera to get some more playing time at second base once again.
Rivera was a huge reason why the Mets made the postseason this year as he batted .333 with three home runs, 16 RBIs, and a .345 OBP in 33 regular season games. So if Walker is not with the Mets next season, it could potentially open the door for Rivera to get some more playing time at second base once again.
One more infielder who could spend some time at second base in 2017 is Wilmer Flores. Flores has seen some time at every infield position during his first three seasons in the big leagues, so putting him at second base should not be an issue if the Mets want to go down that road. All Mets fans know that Flores is a very solid big league hitter, especially against
Flores has seen some time at every infield position during his first three seasons in the big leagues, so putting him at second base should not be an issue if the Mets want to go down that road. All Mets fans know that Flores is a very solid big league hitter, especially against left-handed pitchers. This season, Flores batted .267 with 16 home runs, 49 RBI, and a .319 OBP in 103 games before going down with season-ending wrist surgery.
With Asdrubal Cabrera holding down the fort at shortstop and David Wright and Lucas Duda on the corners, second base could be the position Flores sees the most time at in 2017, if Neil Walker is not in the orange and blue next season.
The Mets have quite a few options within their organization to be the everyday second baseman in 2017 if Neil Walker decides to take his talents elsewhere.
Would Neil Walker returning to the Mets in 2017 be beneficial? Yes. But should re-signing Walker be the top priority for the Mets this offseason? Absolutely Not.
For the Mets this offseason, top priority is to lock down Yoenis Cespedes and find a more dependable everyday catcher before even thinking about bringing back Walker.