The Yankees could have called it an offseason after trading for Giancarlo Stanton and re-signing CC Sabathia, but that’s not how a franchise with an unlimited budget operates. The only financial constraints the Yankees have to worry about is MLB’s luxury tax, which Brian Cashman has carefully gotten under by shedding the last bad contracts — save Jacoby Ellsbury’s — from the spendthrift days.
To acquire Stanton, the Yankees did have to give up second baseman Starlin Castro, leaving an opening opposite Didi Gregorius up the middle. Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade would have been slated to start, but Cashman waited out the market and was able to land Neil Walker on a very inexpensive one-year deal. Walker was coming off a year making over $17 million after accepting a qualifying offer last season.
Walker has quietly become one of the most consistent second basemen in the league and has the ability to move around the infield and outfield. For his nine-year career, the 32-year-old is a .272/.341/.437 hitter with two 20-homer seasons to his name. The Yankees offense won’t skip a beat with him stepping in for Castro.
The signing of Walker will also allow the Yankees to bring along top prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres at a more conservative pace. No need to rush these two future stars to join a team that is already loaded. This is just a smart move by the Yankees on so many levels.