LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Sign Neil Walker: Some Thoughts

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Yankees Sign Neil Walker: Some Thoughts

Just when it looked as if infield prospect Tyler Wade was about to steal the 2B job away from super prospect Gleyber Torres, Brian Cashman goes and does it again.

Neil Walker was languishing (probably) after having attended Camp Jobless, when Cashman (or maybe it was Walker's agent) initiated negotiations. The first tweet about the signing hadn't even reached the bottom of anyone's screen before Walker was in his car headed to Tampa. To recap the particulars, the deal is for one year, at $4 million plus incentives. To make room for Walker on the roster, Jake Cave was designated for assignment.

He projects to be a utility infielder who has been thrown into the mix for the 2B job. In fact, he is expected to be the Opening Day second baseman. That is, if he can catch up in time. There are less than 20 days to Opening Day and, even though Walker attended the free agent camp, he is still behind the other candidates for the job.

That surely gives hope to guys like Wade and Torres, although, my guess is that Torres would not have made the Opening Day roster anyway. He is coming back from the Tommy John Surgery, and only played 23 games at triple A last year. He's also only 21 years old, which gives these not-your-father's Yankees plenty of time to play with his arbitration clock.

How does the old adage go? If you can play, I mean really play, they'll find a spot for you? That seems to apply to Wade these days. YES reporter Jack Curry seems convinced that "Wade is making this team." Where does that leave a guy like Ronald Torreyes? Also, with Walker on the team, where does that leave 1B Tyler Austin? Finally, with Drury at 3B, you have to wonder again about Torreyes. Then again, his base running gaffe last night might mean that worrying about him is a waste of time.

So, will several of these prospects be put into a package for a starting pitcher? Most fans in Yankees Universe are convinced that this is the direction in which things are going. This team needs pitching depth, they say. They are absolutely right. However, I have to draw the line when they say that Jordan Montgomery should suffer because of it. "He can go down to Scranton and be our pitching depth," is the prevailing refrain. How unfair! I know, who said life was fair? Well, I don't care if no one said it, it's unfair. Period. (It's also not likely to happen until the trade deadline, unless some catastrophic injury occurs.)

This One Is Gone!
We all saw the tweet yesterday morning from Ken Singleton. He is entering his final year of broadcasting. To be honest, I have believed Kenny hasn't been as sharp in the booth for the last couple of years. He is definitely doing the right thing. But he will be missed, especially for his kindness and humor. I recall what he said during a game against the Rays, when Steven Souza, Jr had made it to third base on a play: "Souza marches into third." Another time, against those same Rays, when the camera showed Chris Archer in the dugout after a bad outing, with his hands moving around the big, messy hair he then had, Kenny said, "Archer is sorting it all out." Hilarious.

Thanks for the memories, Kenny, and best wishes.

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