Neil Walker and the Mets avoid arbitration for $10.55 million


Second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $10.55 million deal. Walker, who was acquired from the Pirates in December for left-hander Jon Niese, will be a free agent after the season.

He’ll step into the lineup as the replacement for Daniel Murphy, who signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the Nationals as a free agent. Last season Walker hit .269 with 16 homers and a .756 OPS in 151 games for Pittsburgh and through age 29 he’s a career .272 hitter with a .769 OPS. By comparison, Murphy has a lifetime .755 OPS, including .770 OPS last year.

Walker is expected to begin the season batting sixth in New York’s lineup, but could also see time in the No. 2 spot after regularly batting there for Pittsburgh.