The Yankees added some more infield depth on Monday by signing free agent second baseman Neil Walker to a one year deal reportedly worth $5 million.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported that the two sides agreed to a deal, pending a physical. Walker, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Pirates, has moved around a bit since 2015. Pittsburgh traded him to the Mets after the 2015 season ended and he played with the Mets until August 2017 when he was traded to Milwaukee.
Walker is a career .272 hitter with 130 home runs. Last season, he played in 111 games combined with the Mets and Brewers and hit .265 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI. One positive is Walker is a switch hitter who batted .277 against right-handed pitching in 2017. He brings some flexibility to a lineup that could be righty-heavy up top. One negative is durability. Walker has reached the 150 game mark once since 2011 (151 games in 2015) and at 32, he’s not likely to become more durable. However, this is still a solid move for the Yankees. It allows Gleyber Torres time to work some kinks that he’s been experiencing this spring. Those kinks are to be expecting when coming back from a major surgery. Torres, who is one of the highest ranked prospects in baseball, will now start the season in minors.
As for Walker, he is taking a hefty pay cut to play for the Yankees this season. Last year, he accepted a one-year/$17.2M qualifying offer from the Mets.
Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports