By: Marc Loughlin

Trading for Neil Walker Was the Right Move

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Less than 24 hours after the Mets missed out on their number one free agent target Ben Zobrist, they’ve agreed to trade veteran starter Jon Niese to the Pittsburgh Pirates for second baseman Neil Walker. This deal actually makes a lot of sense for a number of different reasons.

First things first, the economics of the deal turned out to be quite favorable. Walker is owed $10.7 million next season while Niese is slated to make $9 million. The Mets were able to add a quality every day second baseman while only increasing payroll by a measly $1.7 million. This leaves them with room to address other key needs, specifically center field and the bullpen.

Second, it gives the Mets flexibility moving forward. Walker will be a free agent following the 2016 season. This allows the team to assess Dilson Herrera’s progress for another full season, leaving open the opportunity for him to take over as the team’s full time second baseman in 2017.

Third, from a resources standpoint, the Mets had a surplus of starting pitching but lacked a quality major league second baseman. Moving an arm to fill the void was a no brainer. Niese has been a solid back end of the rotation starter for the Mets over the course of his time in Queens, but he was certainly expendable.

Fourth, and most importantly, Walker is a pretty darn good ballplayer. He slashed .269/.328/.427 last season with 16 HRs and 71 RBIs. This isn’t too much of a drop off from Murphy’s 2015 campaign in which he hit .281/.322/.449 with 14 HRs 73 RBIs. Walker is also an improvement in the field over the defensively challenged Murphy.

All in all, considering the similar production between Walker and Murphy, and the fact that Walker comes with a cheaper price tag, this move makes a ton of sense. Yes, it’s sad to see the homegrown, now postseason legend, Daniel Murphy go; but it’s simply what’s best for the team. Now the team is in a prime position to address other needs as the offseason progresses.

Below is a statement from Twitter issued a short time ago from Walker:

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