2015 Stats: 543 at-bats, .269/.328/.427, 16 homeruns, 32 doubles
For his career, Walker is a steady and consistent player. He provides above average defense and unspectacular, yet useful offensive production. He’s either good or slightly better than good at everything. His career triple slash line is .272/.338/.431. Since he became an everyday player in May 2010, he has provided 17 wins above replacement. That ranks him 55th over that span among position players. Walker has hit double digit home runs and has qualified for the batting title every season. He won the NL Silver Slugger in 2014. He is almost always healthy and always plays. This is Walker’s true value. His reliability in all aspects of the game.
The Mets avoided arbitration with Walker agreeing on a one year deal worth $10.55 million. This leaves Walker eligible for free agency after the season and the Mets with three options. If Walker has a good season, they can either look to sign Walker to a contract extension or extend a qualifying offer. In the event that Walker refuses the qualifying offer and signs with another team the Mets will get a compensatory first or second round pick in the 2017 amateur draft. If Walker has a bad season they can simply go separate ways.
Both Walker’s career numbers and contract situation make him a very tradable commodity. In the event that Dilson Herrera is ready to take the next step or a serious need should arise during the season, Walker could certainly be a trade deadline chip.
Walker’s consistency would seem to make any 2016 projections pretty easy. .270/.337/.426 with 17 home runs. However, there are some other factors to take into consideration that could be a reason why Walker may end up with better or worse numbers.
The case for worse numbers: Wilmer Flores. Flores could take away some at-bats from Walker. Specifically against lefty pitchers, where Walker has had some trouble.
The case for better numbers: Switch hitting. Walker’s ability to switch hit could potentially allow him to fill many slots in the batting order. If Walker starts the season hot, I could see him in the Daniel Murphy position of possibly hitting second. In this position, the protection of No. 3 and No. 4 hitters like David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda could put Walker in position for another Silver Slugger campaign.