PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — General manager Sandy Alderson spoke on Saturday with the agent for second baseman Neil Walker, who arrived at camp optimistic about the prospects of a contract extension. But Alderson refused to elaborate, and it’s unclear whether the most recent conversation has moved the sides closer to an agreement.
Walker is making $17.2 million this season after accepting the Mets’ qualifying offer. Sources said the sides have discussed a three-year extension in the $40-million range. Alderson also said he intended to speak with Walker, 31, who hit .282 and tied a career high with 23 homers in his first season with the Mets.
Walker’s season ended with back surgery, but the Mets were comfortable enough with the switch-hitting second baseman’s health to make the qualifying offer.
Zack Wheeler came through a 21-pitch bullpen session Sunday with no issues, manager Terry Collins said. Wheeler had not thrown off a mound since last week, when he experienced discomfort in his surgically repaired right elbow. The 26-year-old has experienced a difficult rehab from Tommy John surgery and hopes to pitch in the big leagues for the first time since the end of 2014. The Mets have toyed with starting him in the bullpen as a concession to a proposed innings limit, but Alderson said the pitcher’s health will help shape the decision. “Right now, he’s confident and we’re optimistic as well,” he said. “But ultimately, it’s been two years since he’s thrown, so we’ve got to see it.”
Familia expected Monday
Jeurys Familia is expected back Monday after missing three days related to baseball’s investigation into his domestic-violence arrest. Familia almost certainly will be suspended for violating baseball’s domestic-violence policy, but Alderson said he does not expect any resolution before the end of the World Baseball Classic. The Mets closer will play for the Dominican Republic in the tournament, which ends on March 22.