Neil Walker accepts Mets’ qualifying offer

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Second baseman Neil Walker has accepted the Mets’ $17.2 million qualifying offer, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

It’s good for the Mets, who don’t have to search for a new second baseman. It’s also good for Walker, who is likely earning more this year than he would have on a multi-year deal and he can try free agency again after the 2017 season, perhaps after the qualifying offer system is abolished. The two sides also have some time to work on a potential contract extension.

Walker, 31, was among the game’s better-hitting second basemen, finishing the 2016 campaign with a .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line along with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. He wasn’t able to play in the season’s final five weeks due to a herniated disc in his back which required surgery.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.