Nov 14

Walker Accepts Mets’ Qualifying Offer

Coming off back surgery, Neil Walker had little choice but to accept the Mets’ $17.2-million qualifying offer. He had to figure surgery would have limited interest, so it was best to take the guaranteed money and try the market again next offseason.

It was a no-brainer on his part, just as the qualifying offer was to the Mets.

“Happy to say I’m back in Orange and Blue in 2017! Let’s go Mets,” Walker posted on his Twitter account Monday afternoon.

Walker, who came to the Mets in a trade for Jon Niese, helped carry them for much of the season before undergoing season-ending back surgery to repair a herniated disk. The 31-year-old Walker, who replaced NL MVP candidate Daniel Murphy, hit .282 with 23 homers and 55 RBI before his season ended.

ESPN reported the Mets’ 2017 payroll commitment is now roughly $124 million. That could go as high as $150 million should the Mets bring back Yoenis Cespedes.

Had the Mets not retained Walker, second base could have come down to Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera. They will now be relegated to the bench roles.

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Nov 14

Mets Shouldn’t Think Of Dealing Bruce Without Cespedes Resolution

MLB Trade Rumors reported the Toronto Blue Jays are interested in trading with the Mets for outfielder Jay Bruce. This is in anticipation of Toronto losing outfielder Jose Bautista and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. That’s smart thinking on the Blue Jays’ part as they are likely to lose both.

Personally, I’d love for the Mets to sign Encarnacion, but after studying the early reports, I’m not thinking they can afford him. To do what they must do, I don’t think they can afford Yoenis Cespedes, either.

BRUCE: Don't trade insurance just yet. (AP)

BRUCE: Don’t trade insurance just yet. (AP)

As far as the Mets dealing Bruce, that would be crazy to do now. They picked up his option in anticipation of losing Cespedes. The Mets say they want to bring him back, but with what he’s asking and if negotiations for a new CBA drag, talks with Cespedes can last into January.

Cespedes, as expected, rejected the Mets’ $17.2 million qualifying offer. Since he turned down the Mets’ initial obligatory offer, the next negotiating move is for him to state what he wants. That seems simple enough.

If he walks and Bruce has been traded, the Mets will without any substantial power – left or right-handed. They can’t afford to wait until late July again for Curtis Granderson to wake up and nobody knows what to expect from Lucas Duda. GM Sandy Alderson is walking a tightrope with Cespedes, which is why I want him to push the envelope now.

If they want him, go for it hard. If their offers are for show – as they were with Jose Reyes – then walk away and build around Bruce, who, by the way, is younger and would come cheaper.

But, dealing Bruce without a resolution on Cespedes is simply reckless.

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Nov 12

Already Missing Colon

Don’t you miss him already? I do. Bartolo Colon, who helped carry the Mets into the postseason the last two years, moved on to Atlanta.

The Braves will pay Colon $12.5 million, a figure the Mets had no intention of coming close to paying. The Mets paid Colon $7.5 million last year to lead their young vaunted staff with 15 victories.

COLON: Will miss him. (FOX Sports)

COLON: Will miss him. (FOX Sports)

One could surmise the Mets passed on Colon to save their pennies to give to Yoenis Cespedes. Really, can there be any other reason?

When you look at how some teams are spending, and how they figure to spend, you have to be disappointed in seeing the Mets let Colon go without much of an effort. It’s especially disappointing because Cespedes is likely to leave anyway.

Before the 2017 season is over, there will be a time the Mets will need Colon.

Sure, his at-bats brought comic relief, and his homer in San Diego was one of the most memorable moments of the season, as was his behind-the-back flip to first in 2015. However, what Colon should best be remembered for was his willingness to always take the ball and gut out innings, a quality that helped him lead the Mets with 44 victories over the last three seasons.

The Mets signed Colon as a stopgap when Matt Harvey was injured in 2013, but he wound up being their ace in that span. As promising as Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are, neither has been as reliable as the 43-year-old with the funky delivery and always-present smile.

But, none of that was enough to convince the Mets to bring him back despite having four of their young pitchers coming off surgery; another, Syndergaard, having bone spurs in his elbow; and although Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have promise, their window has been small.

Maybe it will work out for the Mets, and I hope he reaches his goals of becoming the all-time winningest Latin American-born pitcher next season. With a 232-162 record in 19 seasons, he is third behind Dennis Martinez (245) and Juan Marichal (243).

I’m sorry it won’t be with the Mets.


Nov 10

Please Accept My Apologies On Reed

When a player screws up, I expect him to be own up to the mistake. The same applies to me. I wrote set-up reliever Addison Reed is a free agent. He is not. Reed can become a free agent if the Mets don’t make him a contract offer, which they are sure to do.

I was wrong in calling Reed a free agent and apologize for the inconvenience. I can’t go on as if nothing happened.

Thank you for your understanding.-JD

Nov 10

Familia Pleads Not Guilty; MLB Treading Water On Punishment

Mets closer Jeurys Familia pleaded not guilty this morning on the charge of simple assault in Fort Lee, New Jersey, this morning, but by no means is this case over and the team would be foolish if it proceeded with that belief.

FAMILIA: Pleads not guilty. (AP)

FAMILIA: Pleads not guilty. (AP)

The judge agreed to the couple’s request to have a “no contact” ruling, which means they’ll stay together and the odds of the victim cooperating with police will be small. Although the case can proceed without cooperation from the victim, it makes it all the more difficult to prove.

The next hearing is Dec. 15, which is after the Winter Meetings in Washington, DC.

By that time the Mets could and should have, contacted other relievers in the market.

One of them is their own Fernando Salas and another is Washington’s Mark Melancon, formerly of the Pirates. High-profile Aroldis Chapman (Cubs) and Kenley Jansen (Dodgers) are also on the market, but expected to be out of the Mets’ price range.

There is also the option of making set-up reliever Addison Reed the closer.

The Winter Meetings are a month away, so there’s a sense of urgency for the Mets to develop a plan in the expectations Familia is suspended. However, MLB isn’t expected to make a ruling until the justice system has its say.

“I think it is usually difficult for us to complete our investigation before the criminal process has run its course,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “We have the luxury of not being on the field right now, and we’re going to take advantage of that.”

Even so, the Mets must proceed in anticipation of the worst, meaning a lengthy suspension. That means planning without Familia.

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