Reports: Mets and Neil Walker haven’t had serious extension talks yet

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Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that the Mets and second baseman Neil Walker haven’t had any “substantive discussions” about a long-term contract extension. Walker is currently deliberating whether or not to accept the Mets’ $17.2 million qualifying offer. He has until Monday to decide.

Walker, 31, had a solid season with the Mets after coming over in a trade from the Pirates last winter. He hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. He missed the final five weeks of the season due to a herniated disc. He underwent surgery in September.

The QO would almost certainly guarantee a higher annual salary than Walker would get in a multi-year deal as a free agent and it’s unlikely the Mets would match that on a multi-year pact. Walker could use the 2017 season to bolster his value and seek a better multi-year deal next offseason. However, he does have his age to consider and the fact that back injuries rarely go away for good.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.