Neil Walker was the guy who the Mets acquired in a very lopsided deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to the 2016 season. The replacement for Murphy, his tenure didn’t last nearly long with the Mets.
In order to get Walker, all the Mets had to do was surrender Jon Niese. This helped them nab a quality second baseman, making the loss of Murphy a bit more tolerable. For me, it’s one of the better trades in the Sandy Alderson era.
Walker produced well in his year and a half with the Mets, choosing to accept a qualifying offer ahead of the 2017 season to remain in New York. If they were willing, he’d probably still be there.
Now with the New York Yankees, Walker is trying rebuilding his stock before going into free agency again next offseason. With fellow second basemen like DJ LeMahieu and Brian Dozier also competing for contracts after theirs expire, Walker may again see limited interest.
The Mets need to pay close attention to how the Yankees use Walker this year. He started off slowly but has since picked up the pace. Walker has stockpiled more innings at first base which will surely help his resume. The Mets could use another guy who can play at multiple spots. The Yankees have experimented with him in the outfield as well but in a very limited capacity.
Regardless of his performance, Walker is more of a discount than Murphy or any of the other notable veteran second baseman next winter. A few too many factors would need to tip in his favor in order to play enough to become an All-Star. Because of this, Walker will need to settle for less than his competitors.
The Mets, with a high payroll already in place, might see this as a great opportunity to get back a guy who did so well with them.