Neil Walker

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Yankees Sign Neil Walker To 1-Year Contract

March 12, 2018 - 10:26 pm
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NEW YORK (WFAN) -- The Yankees made another move Monday to shore up their infield, signing second baseman Neil Walker to a one-year contract.

WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman reported Walker will be paid a base salary of $4 million, but he could earn nearly an additional $1 million in incentives.

Gleyber Torres went into spring training as the favorite to win the starting job at second base, but the heralded prospect, who is coming off an injury-shortended season, is just 3-for-23 (.130) in the Grapefruit League.

Yankees general manager told WFAN's "The Afternoon Drive" that Walker will at the very least serve as a backup at first, second and third bases. "And over time, if he takes a job from somebody, so be it," Cashman said.

Tyler Wade is also part of the competition at second base.

Walker, 32, is headed into his 10th big-league season. He started last year with the Mets before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in August. For the season, he batted .265 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs.

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Arguably, Walker's best year came in 2016 with the Mets, when he hit .282 with 23 home runs in a season that was cut short by back surgery. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Walker signing is the Yankees' third significant infield acquisition in recent weeks. On Feb. 20, they traded with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Brandon Drury, who is competing with Miguel Andujar for the starting third-base job. And on March 2, they signed free agent Adam Lind, most recently of the Washington Nationals, to a minor league contract. He's providing veteran depth at first base behind Greg Bird, who has been limited to just 48 games over the past two seasons due to injuries.

Heading into the spring, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman expressed reservations about starting two rookies in the infield -- Andujar at third and Torres at second -- in a season in which the Yankees are chasing a world championship. The additions of Drury and now Walker give the Bombers more options.

After the Walker acquisition, the Yankees' payroll sits at an estimated $182 million -- about $15 million below the luxury-tax threshold that owner Hal Steinbrenner reiterated last week he intendeds not to surpass.

The Yankees made room for Walker on the 40-man roster by designating outfielder Jake Cave for assignment.