It only took until halfway through Spring Training, but we’re finally reaching a point where there really aren’t *that* many free agents left that make you scratch your head. If you’d asked me a few minutes ago, the three that would have immediately come to mind would have been Alex Cobb, Greg Holland, and Neil Walker. There are other useful free agents out there, to be sure, but those were the three that clearly could upgrade so many teams. Where are the buyers?
But the first two are attached to draft pick compensation, so that maybe makes some sense, relatively speaking. But what about Wa…
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
Well there you go. It’s an interesting move for the Yankees, who’d eschewed making an infield addition like this all offseason in the name of fiscal responsibility, preferring instead to go with in-house guys and make a modest trade for Brandon Drury. So I think you can assume this is going to be a bargain.
Walker, 32, hasn’t posted a below-average offensive season. That’s a period there, in case you were waiting for me to say “since X.” He became a full-timer in 2010 with the Pirates, and he’s brought the stick every year since. Defensively, he’s more or less average at second base, so, even at age 32, this is guy lots and lots of teams should want. He finished up 2017 with the Brewers, but they never really seemed to show an interest in bringing him back.
I should be thankful then, I suppose, he isn’t landing with a direct Cubs competitor on a bargain. It’s a bummer for Walker, and likely to be a great get for the Yankees, who can now afford to be a little more cautious with their young infield talent (example, former Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres). Walker can play multiple infield positions, and is a perfect utility fit for a very good Yankees team.
UPDATE: A bargain indeed:
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