Veteran infielder Neil Walker just made the New York Yankees infield battle in spring training a lot more interesting.
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
FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the deal will be worth about $5 million.
neil walker and yankees are finalizing a deal. will be MLB deal. believed to be about $5M. @JeffPassan 1st
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 12, 2018
Walker, 32, joins the fray in Tampa for the infield spots vacated by third baseman Chase Headley, traded to the San Diego Padres and second baseman Starlin Castro, traded to the Miami Marlins, in the offseason.
One of the dozens of free agents still waiting to be signed after a slow (which is putting it mildly) offseason, the Walker deal rescues another veteran from the recently closed free-agent spring training camp.
With the other additions during the spring of veterans, such as Danny Espinosa, Adam Lind, and Brandon Drury, who are also competing for infield positions, the Yankees would appear to be moving away from the youth movement represented this season by Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, and Tyler Wade.
Walker started out the 2017 season with the New York Mets but was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers at the non-waiver trade deadline. He’s a switch hitter who put together a combined .265/.365/.439 slash line with 14 home runs and 49 RBI between the two clubs.
He proved his versatility on the infield by making 17 starts at first base, 95 starts at second base and four starts at third base between the Mets and the Brewers last season. His ability to switch hit and to play all three infield positions differentiates him from the other infield candidates.
The Yanks’ infield battles this spring just got a lot more interesting in Tampa with the infusion of more versatile veteran talent brought by Walker. It’s going to be fun watching this intriguing mix of rookie and veteran talent jockey for spots on the Opening Day roster.