A little more depth could go a long way for the 2019 New York Mets. For this reason, they should think about a reunion with Neil Walker for a bench role.
Murphy can get a starting job somewhere and probably should with an American League team. Walker is a part-time player who could conceivably take over every day if someone suffers an injury. In 2018, the New York Yankees used him in this way with better results as the season progressed.
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Walker became more than a second baseman last season. The Yankees used him regularly at first base and even gave him opportunities in the outfield. Although he’s by no stretch the perfect utility man, he is a switch-hitting professional bat the roster could use.
Thinking about Walker is even more imperative given the situation with Wilmer Flores. Flores’ knees may force the Mets into non-tendering him this offseason. If not, they may still look at potential backup plans such as Walker.
I prefer Walker over Flores anyway due to his past performances. During his time with the Mets, he produced at a high level, slashing .275/.344/.462 with 33 home runs in 757 plate appearances. Although from All-Star quality, it’s not easy to find numbers like these from a middle infielder.
Walker received barely any attention last offseason when he hit the open market for the first time in his career. During Spring Training, the Yankees decided to give him a shot. It looked like a bad choice for several weeks until a few big hits kept him on the roster.
The year was far from perfect for Walker and many will agree it was rather disappointing. He hit only .219 for the Yankees. However, in the second half, he was much better with a .247 batting average.
The Mets don’t have too many question marks at the positions Walker can play. However, they don’t have a good cluster of reserve players to replace the starters. Todd Frazier has no competition at third base and Jeff McNeil doesn’t have much either.
Injuries have hurt the Mets for two straight years. What hurts most when a player gets hurt is how much of a drop there is from the starter to the backup.
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At his best, Walker would save this drop from being a noticeable one.