Neil Walker is set to join the Yankees with a one-year contract, pending a physical, according to multiple reports. The team has yet to comment on the situation.
The veteran second baseman, who has been working out at the free agent camp in Bradenton, Florida, is entering his 10th season in the big leagues. His signing could signal the Yankees rumored intent to start prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres in the minor leagues, to season them a little more before bringing them to The Show.
Walker’s contract is believe to be worth around $5 million, which would keep the Yankees below their goal payroll threshold of $197 million. Having accepted a qualifying offer from the New York Mets the previous season, Walker earned $17.2 million. Walker was traded from the Mets to the Milwaukee Brewers on August 12th, after the Yankees were unwilling to meet the Mets’ asking price, seeking insurance behind Greg Bird at first base.
The 32-year-old hit .265 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI over 111 games for the Mets and Brewers last season. In his last two seasons, he has missed time due to health issues with his back and hamstring. Having an OPS that still ranks above-average in all 8 of his full seasons, as well as bringing a consistent glove to the field, is sure to be a great addition to the team’s already dangerous depth.
Walker told The New York Times that he had discussions with the club during the off-season, believing he could be a utility infielder, filling in at first, second and third. Discussions were halted, however, once the Yankees acquired third baseman Brandon Drury on February 20th from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Yankees have seen second base as an open competition. Tyler Wade is leading the group that also includes Torres and Ronald Torreyes. Drury is set to see the majority of time at third base, which would most likely send Andujar back to the minors for the start of the season.
Walker has a career .272 batting average, with 130 home runs and 522 RBI’s. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native is sure to make a great addition to the club during the 2018 season.
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