When Neil Walker took the Mets qualifying offer last month, they said they were happy with the development, even though they knew full well he was worth far less than the $17.2 million they will be paying Walker in 2017. But now that Jay Bruce and/or Curtis Granderson are proving harder to trade than expected, are they still happy?
The Mets payroll now stands at an estimated $153 million. That’s about $13 million more than they likely want to spend. If Walker did not take the offer, the Mets would be closer to $135 million, with a good amount of money left to improve the bullpen.
Trading Bruce/Granderson just gets the Mets to where they want to be.
Think about it — are the Mets a better team with Walker at second, only one of Bruce or Granderson, with one traded in a salary dump for a low-cost reliever, or with Wilmer Flores/Jose Reyes at second, both Bruce and Granderson on the team and a couple of mid-priced relievers? I would go with the latter.
It’s not that Neil Walker is not a good player. He is. But $17.2 million is far too much to pay for him, especially for a team that has budget restraints.
But what’s done is done. Now the Mets must make a deal; hopefully, the eventual trade will not weaken the team at the expense of lowering the payroll.