Having accepted the Mets’ qualifying offer for the 2017 season, Neil Walker was clearly the Mets’ starting second baseman when the year began—so long as he was healthy. The fact the he had accepted that offer in the first place probably had at least a little to do with the fact that he had undergone season-ending back surgery in 2016, which brought a very successful year to a premature end.
It wasn’t Walker’s back that caused him to miss time this year, though. In total, he made 299 plate appearances in 73 games with the Mets because he missed a big chunk of time with a partially-torn hamstring. In that playing time, he hit .264/.339/.442 with 10 home runs and a 108 wRC+, not his best work but certainly passable production.
That hamstring injury obviously caused Walker to miss time, but the timing of the whole thing had him returning to the Mets a little later than ideal for the non-waiver trade deadline. But on August 12, not too long after that deadline had passed, the Mets were able to trade Walker to the Wild Card-contending Brewers for a player to be named later who turned out to be minor league relief pitcher Eric Hanhold.
Like his teammates who were also traded away by the Mets this season, Walker will be a free agent when the offseason officially begins. Whether or not the Mets will spend money on their roster remains to be seen, and there are plenty of things that need to be addressed for the team to get back into serious contention in the short term. But if their budget is larger than expected, it could make sense to bring Walker back to play at the keystone as the starter. Regardless of any potential reunion, though, Walker’s tenure with the Mets was undoubtedly a success—even if it was, appropriately enough, slightly diminished by injury.