Neil Walker was wise to accept the Qualifying Offer

Neil WalkerEarly this week it was announced that Neil Walker joined a select group of free agents who have eschewed free agency (for this year) in lieu of accepting the one year Qualifying Offer of $17.2 million.

He will play once again with the Mets on this one year deal and will have the opportunity to become a free agent again at the conclusion of the 2017 season.

From the player’s standpoint this is a wise move. Obviously $17 million is an incredible amount of money in and of itself. Plus as a player who last was on the field on August 27th and then later had a lumbar microdisectomy (translation: back surgery) he and his agents must have known how skittish other teams would be about offering him a long term deal.

Add to that the fact that a signing team other than the Mets would then lose a high draft pick. This has traditionally made it more difficult for good but not elite players to find satisfactory long term deals.

From the Mets’ point of view it is a mixed blessing that Walker will be returning to the fold. We have to assume that the medical staff has assured the front office that Walker will be healthy to start next season. Clearly the Mets’ doctors know a few things about balky backs considering that three quarters of the infield (Walker, Lucas Duda, and David Wright) have suffered or are suffering with them. Asdrubal Cabrera avoided the bad back but had knee issues just to avoid being left out of the gimpy brigade.

Had Walker not suffered his injury and completed the season he likely would not have accepted the QO and would enter free agency looking at offers in the range of three years for $40 to $50 million. The Mets would probably have not bid that high and would likely have taken their chances at second with some combination of Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores, and T.J. Rivera. Meanwhile the team would have saved money on Walker and would have collected another supplementary first round draft pick as they did last year when Daniel Murphy flew the coop.

One thing we must give the organization and locker room credit for is that in recent years when players have come to Queens they end up bonding well with the city and with their teammates. Murphy really wanted to stay but the team preferred to move on. Jay Bruce has said that he was trepidacious about coming to the Mets but now has a real affection for the city and the ballclub.

Walker too had reservations about leaving the small market Pirates and coming to the big city. But apparently he and Mrs. Walker have enjoyed being a part of the Mets family. So in taking the QO he gets a larger salary in 2017 than he would elsewhere. He stays in an environment that he likes. His options remain open for next year. For him it would appear all win-win.

For the Mets to get a win out of this they would need Walker to stay healthy during 2017 and to have a season at least as good as his career average which is .273 batting average, .339 on base percentage, .436 slugging percentage, which adds up to a 775 OPS.

Here’s hoping.

18 comments for “Neil Walker was wise to accept the Qualifying Offer

  1. Barry
    November 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Good article, and, of course, all true.

    But I have a pet peeve: You said “For him it would appear all win-win.”

    “Win-win” doesn’t mean a “really good win” or a “doubly-good win”; and it doesn’t refer to just one “side”. It means both sides in a negotiation “won”, or at least got something good out of the agreement.

    Sorry, I know many people misuse the expression.
    But it brings up an interesting question: Do you think the Mets “won” also?

    • TexasGusCC
      November 19, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      I do think the Mets won also. They secured for one year a chance to have a potentially very, very good second baseman if healthy (which they must be reasonably secure of) at a market reasonable price (since you assume he would turn it down had he been healthy) and also will get an extra draft pick next year.

      • Barry
        November 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm

        I did like Walker very much.
        But I also liked T.J.

        They are overpaying for Walker, when they have three good players who could play 2nd base. I mean, Walker is better, but how much better than Reyes or Flores? $17M better?

        Will they need that money for Cespedes?

        And I’d like to see what T.J. can do.
        The Mets really need a contact-hitter who hits for average. Can T.J be the next Daniel Murphy?

        • TexasGusCC
          November 19, 2016 at 8:58 pm

          Barry, I like TJ, as a backup. Understand, he has never, ever showed power. His average on line drive was .778 when the league average was .620. So, it’s hard to invest in a 27 year old with that history but he certainly has value as a “good at bat” type of guy of whom the Mets have very few.

          There is enough money for Cespedes and while I love Flores, he should find around 350-400 at bats. Reyes will take over third as soon as Wright goes on the DL, around late April.

    • Mike Walczak
      November 20, 2016 at 9:11 am

      No, they didn’t win. Walker is a solid player, but the Mets have options at second base that they could have used. 17.2 million is far too much for him. Id rather see that 17.2 million go towards Dexter Fowler.

  2. Eraff
    November 19, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    I like Neil Walker, and I’m rooting for Him, but I’m taking a Hard Position that this is a mistake.

    I’m hoping that they already know that Wright is done, and that the insurance will cover his salary. That would provide a better scenario for re-signing Cespedes along with Walkers 17.5 million.

    Wright, Duda, Walker….. They will have about $45,000 in post Spinal Surgery Position Players.

    I do not understand this signing.

    • November 19, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      From what was reported at the time, this was a significantly different surgery, one with a high rate of recovery.

      Estimates had the Mets with around $50 million to spend. $17 on Walker, $28 on Cespedes and $5 on a relief pitcher is one way it could shake out.

  3. Barry
    November 19, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Joe D. is saying a deal for Cespedes (with the Mets!) could come soon!

    http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mets-and-cespedes-deal-could-come-soon.html/

    • Jimmy P
      November 20, 2016 at 11:01 am

      This struck me as typical clickbait for Metsmerized. There’s no source here, no real info, no reporting. He’s just pretending that he knows something based on an educated guess.

  4. Metsense
    November 20, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Alderson would never have offered the QO and not be prepared for Walker to accept it while still having money for Cespedes. Obviously he feels that Walker is better than any combination of Reyes, Flores, Rivera and Cecchinni. I tend to agree with Alderson that Walker is a consistant and professional player. Walker was wise to accept the QO because his market was diminished by the the attached draft choice and back surgery. Alderson indeed overpaid Walker by $3.2 for 2017 but he obviously has the resources to do so or else he would not have made the offer in the first place.

    • November 20, 2016 at 9:22 am

      That seems like a very precise amount that he overpaid Walker by. How did you come to that conclusion?

  5. Metsense
    November 20, 2016 at 10:40 am

    If Walker had no health issues then he would have been signing a multi year contract for around $14 M per year. This is what Zobrist got, whereas Kinsler averages $15M and Pedroia 13.75M per year. The Mets would be paying him about $3.2M above market value. Murphy signed a 3/12.5 and at the time of his signing was an inferior player to Walker. Based on this info, and expected increase in salaries, $14 M seems appropriate for Walker but to avoid an arguement I could aknowledge $13 M also.

    • November 20, 2016 at 11:12 am

      It’s difficult to compare a one-year deal to a multi-year one. The best Cespedes could do last year on a multi-year deal was five years, $100 (according to MLBTR) with significant deferrals from the Nationals. He got $27.5 with no deferrals on the one-year deal he essentially signed with the Mets

  6. Jimmy P
    November 20, 2016 at 10:43 am

    I suppose Cano is #1, but this must make Walker one of the top 3 highest-paid 2Bs in baseball.

    Can you think of others?

    • Name
      November 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      2b seems to be a position of low self esteem because a lot of guys like to sign team-friendly deals early in their career

      http://www.spotrac.com/mlb/rankings/base/2nd-base/

      • Jimmy P
        November 20, 2016 at 6:15 pm

        That’s a great site, thank you.

        In addition to guys liking to sign team-friendly deals, it should also be noted that smart teams sign those deals, too.

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