Filling positional holes on a team isn’t sexy, but it has to be done. On Monday, the New York Yankees did just that when they signed second baseman Neil Walker to a major league contract, first reported by Yahoo Sports’ own Jeff Passan.
Source: Second baseman Neil Walker has agreed to a deal with the New York Yankees. Still pending a physical.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 12, 2018
According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a one-year deal believed to be worth about $5 million.
Walker isn’t a star, but he’s a solid second baseman with numbers that range from decent to great. The 31-year-old has spent nine years in the majors, and has a .272/.342/.437 career triple slash with 130 home runs.
Walker spent most of that nine years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who nabbed him in the first round of the 2004 draft. He debuted in 2009, and was traded to the New York Mets after the 2015 season. He spent 2016 and most of 2017 with the Mets, until he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in August as they made an ultimately unsuccessful push toward the playoffs.
Walker could have fit into a lot of different MLB rosters, like the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, and Kansas City Royals. But his most obvious fit was with the Mets. Considering how Walker had struggled to even get a major-league offer this offseason (he reportedly turned down a minor league offer from the Royals), the Mets could have had him cheaply, which is the keyword when it comes to the Mets and free agents.
But the Yankees have won out here, most likely by simply offering Walker a major league contract. Walker will land at second base, ending the positional battle that had been brewing during spring training. While this means that top prospect Gleyber Torres will almost certainly start the season at Triple-A, he’s still the Yankees’ second baseman of the future.
In the meantime, Walker’s a more-than-solid second baseman of the present.
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