The New York Mets have a huge class of free agents after this season is over. They even added a couple more at the trade deadline but those guys not under contract beyond this season should be viewed exclusively as rentals anyway.
It’s those guys who opened the year with the Mets that have a far greater chance of sticking around. Names who probably could be back next year include Edwin Diaz, Brandon Nimmo, and of course Jacob deGrom. Any of those three and several others could always flee and end up somewhere else. There’s too much uncertainty right now with all of them.
There are, however, three notable Mets free agents who already seem bound to leave.
1) NY Mets free agent Taijuan Walker won’t be back next season
The Mets rotation next season could end up looking very much the same or entirely different. Along with deGrom, there is Chris Bassitt on a mutual option and Taijuan Walker on a player option. Bassitt seems like a candidate to sign a shorter deal with the Mets. Walker, who is a few years younger, seems destined to get a longer contract from someone.
The Mets won’t just let Walker leave without pitching him a contract. However, he doesn’t seem quite in the wheelhouse of what it is they will be looking to retain. They managed to snatch him up in free agency ahead of the 2021 season on a deal that looked somewhat favorable for the team—until his 2021 second half.
Walker is going to have many suitors who view him as a youngish pitcher on the rise. Injuries have been one of this biggest weaknesses but if he stays healthy this year he’ll be able to get himself a nice new contract in the offseason.
Clearly not an ace, Walker would be a guy to fit in nicely on a team like the San Diego Padres who already have plenty of free agent starting pitchers of their own. Perhaps even the Chicago Cubs, who signed former Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman last winter, hope to ink another guy to secure a more stable rotation. They won’t be able to win next year but maybe the following season.
Let’s also not rule out the Baltimore Orioles who have been a couple of good starting pitchers away from contending this season. The point is: Walker is going to be popular. The Mets have other holes to fill and some solutions already on the roster if he does leave. Namely, Tylor Megill or David Peterson could get a more permanent spot in the rotation.