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The New York Yankees are making more moves prior to the regular season. They signed 9-year veteran second baseman Neil Walker to a one-year deal worth $5 million on Monday.
This acquisition raises the question on Yankees prospect Gleyber Torres who has been competing for the starting second-base spot. It could be an indication that he could start the season playing in the minors. The No. 5 prospect according to ESPN is battling only .130 with only 3 hits in 23 at-bats. Yankee players like Ronald Torreyes and Tyler wade are also competing for the starting position.
Walker, 32, previously played 111 games last season between the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. He hit 14 homer runs with 49 runs batted in and had a .265 batting average. Walker's patience at the plate is a nice asset to his game after walking a career-high 55 times last year. He walked 54 times with the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2011. He also had a career low 102 between the Brewers and Mets in 2017.
With this signing, the Yankees got a bargain that project the Yankees luxury tax payroll to about $182 million which is approximately $15 million below the luxury tax boundary line.
Walker is has almost 4,000 at-bats in his veteran career. He's played 1060 MLB games, 1,051 hits, 130 home runs, 522 RBIs at a solid .272 batting average. He was a Silver Slugger winner at second base in 2014 where he had a career-high 23 home runs.
Walker made the postseason with the Pirates for three consecutive seasons (2013-15). Signing with the pinstripes going into his 10th MLB season, odds are likely he can play in October for a fourth time alongside sluggers Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird.
Walker missed 51 games last year which potentially could be a red flag for the Yankees. He turns 33 in September and at the stage of his career, his durability may raise a question.