With Neil Walker Signing, Yankees Send Message to Youngsters

With Neil Walker Signing, Yankees Send Message to Youngsters

Supervisor Aaron Boone didn’t need to delve deeply into what the acquisition of Walker might imply, because it was not but official when he spoke Monday afternoon. However when requested if it was an indication that Torres and Wade weren’t fairly prepared, Boone mentioned: “No. I believe that’s studying into it slightly an excessive amount of.”

Nonetheless, within the 32-year-old Walker, the Yankees are clearly getting a confirmed commodity — they pursued him final season on the non-waiver commerce deadline, that they had repeated discussions with earlier this winter, and he posted a .801 on-base-plus slugging share with the Mets and Milwaukee Brewers round a stint on the disabled record with a hamstring damage.

Although Walker is a switch-hitter, he has been considerably more practical as a left-handed batter — throughout his profession and final season. He posted a .842 O.P.S. batting left-handed final season (in comparison with .601 hitting right-handed) and all 13 homers got here from the left aspect. He might additionally spell Brandon Drury, who has hit left-handers and right-handers at about the identical price, at third base and Greg Chook at first base.


Gleyber Torres has struggled on the plate in his return from Tommy John surgical procedure, with a .130 batting common up to now. Walker might supplant him because the Yankees’ second baseman.

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“We had a extremely good participant fall into our lap, basically,” Boone mentioned Monday evening, after the Yankees’ 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Walker, who had been figuring out lately at a camp for unsigned free brokers in close by Bradenton, Fla., will work out with the Yankees on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will play in a sport as early as Thursday in opposition to the Pittsburgh Pirates, his hometown crew that he got here up with.

The signing of Walker — at such a reduced price — is one other signal of the depressed market totally free brokers this winter. He made $17 million final season after accepting a qualifying supply from the Mets.

Walker’s agent had spoken with the Yankees primarily about being their main third baseman. However his hopes of touchdown in New York appeared to evaporate three weeks in the past when the Yankees swung a deal for Drury, whose major-league minimal wage required a extra modest monetary dedication. The Yankees, who’re striving to remain beneath the $197 million luxurious tax threshold, now have about $15 million to spend on beginning pitching or different reinforcements this season.

Walker was searching for a multiyear contract however till Saturday didn’t have a suggestion.

“You consider a number of the guys which might be nonetheless on the market and a number of the guys that type of needed to grind out the low season, they’re all very comparable tales,” mentioned Walker, who wished a chance play for a profitable crew. “I knew it was a matter of time. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when.”

It’s becoming maybe that Walker arrived in time to look at the Yankees exhibition sport Monday evening in opposition to the Minnesota Twins, who’ve additionally taken benefit of the shrinking marketplace for veteran free-agent expertise. The Twins have added designated hitter Logan Morrison ($6.5 million), beginning pitcher Lance Lynn ($12 million) and relievers Fernando Rodney (four.5 million), Addison Reed ($eight.25 million) and Zack Duke ($2.2 million).

The acquisition of Walker might have served as inspiration for a number of Yankees on Monday evening. Tyler Austin, who was vying for a bench spot backing up Chook, hit his third homer of the exhibition season, and Wade added two hits, together with a double off the right-field wall. Drury additionally turned in a slick play at third base and began a double play.

“I’m glad we acquired him,” Wade mentioned. “If I simply are available and play my sport, I’ll be all proper.”


Reggie Jackson, who’s in camp as a visitor teacher, fell whereas out for a stroll on Monday morning and can bear knee surgical procedure on Tuesday, a crew spokesman mentioned. … To clear room on the 40-man roster for Neil Walker, the Yankees designated outfielder Jake Cave for task. Infielder Kyle Holder was reassigned to minor-league camp.

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