Neil Walkyear Returns To The Mets

Neil Walker has officially accepted the Mets’ 17.2 million dollar qualifying offer instead of testing free agency. Neil Walkyear 2.0 commences effective immediately. 2017 continues to go down as the year of the walk-year for the Mets as Neil is added to the list of guys playing for a contract. It’s a smart move by Neil since the market for his services may have been hurt by his late season back-surgery as well as the draft pick compensation tied to signing him as a result of the qualifying offer. Now he will have another full season to show he’s healthy, and it’s also possible that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will modify the qualifying offer system and eliminate draft pick compensation as part of the process. So in an ideal world for Neil, he will prove his health in 2017 and have a chance to sign a 3-5 year deal next offseason without being tied to a draft pick.

On the surface this is great news for the Mets, assuming Neil’s back injury doesn’t linger and turn out to be a chronic issue (i.e. it evolves into a classic strain of METS disease). Obviously as a Mets fan I fear the worst, but even if the back problem persists the Mets aren’t committed to Walker long-term. They get to keep the roster/payroll flexibility that Sandy Alderson and the Wilpons love so much. The 17.2 million dollar price tag may be a bit higher than the 13-15 million annual salary Walker would probably earn as part of a long-term deal. But it’s a small price to pay to avoid the extra commitment in terms of years.

The downside of course is that nobody really knows the Mets projected payroll for next season. I’ve heard speculation that this contract may prevent the Mets from signing Cespedes. I’ve heard speculation that this deal may force the Mets to dump some extra salary in order to make a reasonable offer to Yoenis Cespedes. I’ve heard that the Mets ideally would like to keep Cespedes and Walker and won’t make any significant additions to the roster beyond the retention of those two guys.

The bottom line is this. If Neil Walker’s decision to accept the qualifying offer truly prevents the Mets from signing Yo or making other meaningful acquisitions then the organization is a lost cause. I’m hoping the Mets keep Yo, Walker and make other big additions to both the bullpen and the bench. We’re trying to win a championship. So let’s improve this damn roster and make a run. Retaining Yo/Walker and dumping the salaries of Bartolo Colon and Jay Bruce to make that possible doesn’t exactly equate to a net improvement of the roster heading into 2017. But the offseason has just started. Let’s see what happens.

The next step is to sign Cespedes. The Mets should have already signed Yo. But there’s still time. Do it tomorrow. And at least today is a good day. A Neil Walkyear reboot is a pretty good thing. As long as he doesn’t catch the stenosis. Pray for his back. Pray for all their backs.

Mets Hit A Clutch Homer Late; Pigs Fly 

Final Score: Mets 3, Tigers 1

The Mets won on a clutch two-run homer off the bat of Neil Walker in the 9th inning. A clutch late hit by the 2016 New York Mets? Unfathomable. I’ll just ignore the inning before when the Tigers handed us the game by committing Little League base running gaffes.

Conforto Bomb: In the 7th inning, Michael Conforto hit a solo homer off of Anibal Sanchez for the first run of the game. It was an opposite field shot. I really wish 2016 wasn’t a complete waste of a season for our stud sophomore. I hope the challenges and experience help him take his game to the next level.

Poor deGrom: They really need to create a new stat for Jacob deGrom. Quality start doesn’t really cut it because he’s always better than 6 innings and 3 runs. Maybe they could give him a NP (Near Perfect)? If he goes 6+ and gives up 1 run, he’s credited with a NP. He’d probably be among the league leaders in NPs over the last few years. Anyway, he went 6.2 innings in this game and gave up 1 run. He was pulled in a questionable spot, but all in all he had another NP performance. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez has had a bad season, but not in this game. He went 8 innings, gave up 1 run on 4 hits, and he struck out 10 Mets.

Terry’s Going Full Costanza: In the 7th inning, deGrom gave up a one out single to Justin Upton and a two out walk to James McCann. Then Andrew Romine hit a little BS infield hit to load the bases. Terry decided to yank deGrom in that spot instead of letting him face outfielder Ty Collins (who’s hitting .250). Yup. Terry elected to have lefty Jerry Blevins face pinch-hitter and right-handed hitting star Ian Kinsler. Terry has been making some awful decisions lately. I really hope he’s not going full Costanza and just trying to get canned. Anyway, Blevins gave up another little infield hit to Neil Walker that scored a run to tie the game at 1-1. Addison Reed was then summoned, and he was able to get out of the jam.

Little League Disgrace: The Tigers literally handed the Mets a Little League break in the bottom of the 8th inning. With two outs Addison Reed gave up a double to J.D. Martinez and then intentionally walked Justin Upton to face Casey McGehee. As a side note, I thought McGehee was playing in Japan or something. That guy really keeps finding a way to stick around MLB. Anyway he hit a ball that James Loney should have fielded cleanly, but instead he deflected it into right field past Neil Walker at second base. The Loney blunder should have created a bases loaded situation for the Tigers. But Justin Upton decided to keep running to third base even though J.D. Martinez was just staying on the bag. Martinez then realized Upton was approaching third base, and he took off for home. The Mets easily tagged Martinez out in a brief rundown. It was a pathetic base running blunder by Upton. Something out of the Mets playbook. That mistake kept the score tied at 1.

They’re All Dead: In the 9th inning, Alejandro De Aza was nailed by a pitch in the hand to start the inning. X-Rays were negative, but for a second I thought he would join Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares in our center fielder burial ground.

A Late Clutch Hit: The next batter was Neil Walker, and he launched the game winning two-run homer! A late clutch hit. Unbelievable. We had some luck in this game? This word l-u-c-k that you say. What does it mean? It was a huge hit by Walker, and now you can fully expect to start hearing all the fans and talking heads calling for the Mets to re-sign him. If you missed it, I said that over a week ago.

Gary Apple: Gary Apple was calling the shots in the booth for the Mets. We may be in the Wild Card race, but putting Apple in the booth is essentially waving the white flag. Bring back Cohen ASAP.

Tomorrow: Mets play the D-backs and Steven Matz will face Zack Greinke. Let’s win two in a row. That will literally be the greatest accomplishment of the summer for the Mets. Let’s do it.