By Gem Tablak
When the Mets acquired Neil Walker, that certainly put an end to the Daniel Murphy era in New York & it seems to take care of 2 problems with that one trade made with Pittsburgh earlier in the off season.
1st, the Mets were able to find a replacement for Daniel Murphy while at the same time Murphy & his agents were still lobbying for a deal with the Mets even though they had made it clear that they weren’t interested. He eventually moved on to sign with the inner division rivals, The Washington Nationals.
The Mets were also able to clear up some clutter that was in the starting rotation. With an already packed rotation with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGROM, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Bartolo Colon, Rafael Montero, & the eventual return of Zach Wheeler, there just wasn’t much room for Niese & he probably held more value on the trade block rather than the bullpen considering the amount of money he will be getting paid in the 2016.
However, while the Mets may have “killed two birds with one stone” they may have taken on a whole other problem. After every season, a certain percentage which consists of the top free agents of that class have to be offered a qualifying offer in order to 1, retain the player for one more season & 2, if the player declines the the qualifying offer, the team that gave the player the offer is awarded a compensation pick for losing that player.
If Walker decides to decline his QO at the end of the season, I think the Mets will be in the clear. Financially & physically at 2nd. The Mets can then turn to top prospect Dilson Herrera to man 2nd & if for some reason he’s not ready, Wilmer Flores can field his position till the time being & Walker would be on his way signing with another team while the Mets recieve draft compensation.
If Walker decides to accept the QO. That will potentially put the Mets about 17 million dollars in the hole just for next season alone, just for Niel Walker alone. That will also put a block on Dilson at the position where Flores can still thrive doing the super IF utility duties.
In this case, I believe I’m in the minority when I say the Mets should start exploring trades to get rid of Walker by the trading deadline. That way if Dilson Herrera or even Wilmer Flores are off to a hot first half, the Mets can move Walker & slide one of those 2 players at 2nd while calling up a “Matt Reynolds” or even trading for a “Juan Uribe” to cover the utility & back up duties. While many fans are saying “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”, I’ve never known the Wilponn to take the same approach when it comes to finances, Cespedes excluded.
So what will the Mets do at the deadline?? Possibly move Walker to replenish the Farm System?? Stick it out this season & let him re-sign or accept the QO? Maybe trade Dilson Herrera or Wilmer Flores for a bullpen filler?