The New York Yankees have signed veteran second baseman Neil Walker, pending physical, per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan on Monday morning.
According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the deal is believed to be a one-year deal worth $5 million.
Walker, 32, is a nine-year veteran who last played for the Milwaukee Brewers after being traded from the crosstown New York Mets in August.
Back injuries robbed him of a consistent, productive, and possibly long-term stint with the Mets as he was just one of many notable names sidelined due to health issues. The closest thing he had to a full season with the Mets in 2016 (113 games) was one of his best in the majors, slugging 23 home runs — which tied a career high — with 55 RBI and a .282 batting average, his highest mark since 2010.
The injury issues followed him into 2017 as he missed six weeks spanning from June to July. He still managed to bat .264 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI in 73 games. But a suddenly-rebuilding team, which also shipped off Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda and Addison Reed, opted to deal the pending free agent to the Brewers for minor-league pitcher Eric Hanhold.
In 38 games for the Brewers, who were in the mix for a playoff spot, Walker hit .267 with four home runs and 13 RBI.
Now Walker joins a Yankees team that has plenty of depth within its infield, though he will likely be the starter at second base. He is a cheap veteran placeholder for Gleyber Torres or Miguel Andujar, two young prospects that are the future of the Yankees’ infield and are expected in some combination to man second and third base for the foreseeable future once they’re ready to make the permanent jump to Major League Baseball.
New York made a similar deal by acquiring Brandon Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this winter to start at third base should the prospects need more time to hone their games in the minors.
Regardless, Walker could have a highly-productive stay in the Bronx. The switch-hitter could feast on the short porch in right field to add another perspective 25-plus home-run bat to the middle of the Yankees order that already includes Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius.
That makes New York’s lineup that much more imposing come Opening Day.