Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mets' Walker in the Money for a Year

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mets' Walker in the Money for a Year

Article excerpt

Neil Walker is back.

Now the Mets will try to convince Yoenis Cespedes to recommit as well.

Second baseman Walker accepted a one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer, while Cespedes rejected the offer before Monday's 5 p.m. deadline. Cespedes' rejection comes as no surprise, but there was uncertainty over whether Walker would accept or become a free agent.

Cespedes is free to sign with any team, although both sides have expressed an interest in extending the partnership.

Walker's return is a huge boost to the Mets' chances in 2017, and a productive year potentially will enable him to enter free agency healthy and highly sought.

Walker tweeted about his return: "Happy to say I'm back in Orange and Blue for 2017!! Let's go Mets! #unfinishedbusiness."

Walker appeared to be headed for a big free-agent payday as late as August, but his season ended prematurely when he underwent back surgery because of lingering pain from a herniated disk.

Without the surgery, Walker likely would have rejected the offer, but the procedure complicated matters because teams can be hesitant to give multi-year pacts to players who sustained season-ending injuries.

Walker ultimately had to accept the lucrative one-year deal or gamble on a better offer, and he decided the best move was a one- year pact.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson previously said the team was open to a multi-year deal with Walker despite the injury, but Walker opted for the handsome contract in 2017. The large payday can help offset any money he may lose if teams aren't as interested next season due to his performance or age. He turns 32 in September.

The sides also can negotiate a multi-year during the season.

Walker proved to be a great fit for the Mets and produced one of the best seasons of his career by hitting .282 with an .823 OPS after being acquired in an off-season trade with Pittsburgh. …

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