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Neil Walker Accepts Mets' $17.2 Million Qualifying Offer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Mets will have their second baseman back in 2017.

Neil Walker on Monday accepted the team's $17.2 million qualifying offer for next season, WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman reported.

If he had rejected the offer, Walker would have become a free agent. Had he signed elsewhere, his new team would have had to forfeit its top unprotected draft pick in 2017 to the Mets. The top 10 selections in the draft are protected.

Walker, 31, batted .282 with 23 home runs and 55 RBIs in 113 games before his first season in Queens was cut short by a back injury. Walker earned $10.55 million in 2016.

Walker posted on Twitter on Monday afternoon: "Happy to say I'm back in Orange and Blue for 2017!! Let's go Mets!"

Not surprisingly, slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who opted out of the final two years of the three-year, $75 million contract he signed with the Mets last January, rejected this qualifying offer Monday. He and the Mets, however, are reportedly discussing a long-term deal.

The deadline for major league free agents to accept or reject qualifying offers was 5 p.m. Monday. Only Walker and Phillies pitcher Jeremy Hellickson agreed to their offers.

Blue Jays designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, Rangers outfielder Ian Desmond and Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo declined their offers.

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