His former teammates grew concerned with each day the second baseman was left on the market.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Baseball’s free agent camp came to a close last week and the Mets were relieved to see one of those free agents end up in another camp with a contract.

Neil Walker, who was signed to a one-year deal by the Yankees on Monday night, is still a beloved and well-respected figure in the Mets’ clubhouse. The Mets were having trouble understanding why such a valuable veteran was still on the market.

Yes, they understand that the proliferation of data in baseball has suddenly devalued players in their 30s. And they understand that he’s had back problems and his numbers dipped in home runs and RBIs, but he walked more and struck out less than the year before. Plus, the .843 OPS in the second half was nothing to devalue, because it was, in fact, valuable for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Wright remains shut down

But last week when MLB Players Association president Tony Clark paid a visit to the Mets, a few of the younger players felt compelled to speak out on behalf of Walker. As one player put it, advanced metrics can’t determine how valuable a player is in the clubhouse.

“I feel happy and everybody who played with Neil should feel the same way,” Jose Reyes, Walker’s former spring training locker-mate told NJ Advance Media. “He’s a great guy, a great player and a good teammate to be around.”

In David Wright’s absence, Walker was often looked to as the veteran voice of reason during the 2017 season. He made the sure the younger players were held accountable but he also kept the atmosphere light and loose when it needed to be.

“He brought …read more

Source:: New Jersey Real -Time Sports


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