What’s the hurry? That was the first impression after hearing the Mets and second baseman Neil Walker had preliminary discussions on a possible multi-year contract.
I hope those discussions entail waiting to see how Walker copes coming off surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. After with what the Mets have gone through with David Wright, and his persistent pain and lack of playing time, why would they hurry into another long-term contract with a player coming off back surgery?
“We’ve had some discussions and nothing has come to fruition,” Walker told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “But for me, looking at this, there is no place I would want to be, and looking down the road at what is here and what the next [few] years look like, this is an exciting place to be as a big league ballplayer. I feel confident in my health, and they do, too.”
That’s all good, but there’s a difference between a one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer and a reported three-year, $40-million contract.
Despite consecutive playoff appearances, the Mets remain a penny-pinching bunch. In addition to Wright’s deal, they are tied to a four-year, $110-million anchor with Yoenis Cespedes.
The Cespedes deal has been an obstacle in dealing either Jay Bruce ($13 million) or Curtis Granderson ($15 million), although both will be off the books after this season. They are also in the middle of a long-term contract with Juan Lagares, but he’s not even starting.
They are apparently in no rush to sign any of their pitchers to long-term contracts, which is just as well since four of them are coming off surgery. Even so, in two years they’ll have to deal with Matt Harvey’s free-agency. Then come the rest.
Make no mistake, Walker had a terrific year, batting .282 with 23 homers and 55 RBI, but he only played in 113 games, but said he was in persistent pain.
“I’d probably wake up every single morning and as soon as I’d throw my feet over the side of bed, I could tell whether it was going to be a good or bad day,’’ Walker said.
Even that, one would think the Mets would operate with some hesitancy in this case.