According to Jeff Passan (on twitter), the Yankees have come to terms with a deal to sign free-agent 2B Neil Walker to a contract for the 2018 season. No contract details have been released as of now, but expectations should be around a 1 Year-$5 Million deal.
Similarly to the Brandon Drury trade a few weeks ago, this deal makes it seem as though the Yankees aren't quite ready to start the year with another one of their top prospects in the majors.
Likewise, I believe this deal solidifies the Yankees 2018 Opening Day starters (among other things). Here are some quick thoughts about the trade:
1) What is the contract going to look like?
Considering how some recent deals have gone- especially Mike Moustakas- I'm not expecting any more than $5 million being guaranteed in this deal. The offseason has been dreadful for the good and consistent veteran player, and at this point, free agent deals are going to come quick, fiscally small, and short in length. I'm not expecting more than a quick one-year deal for Walker.
The Yankees had around $22 million to spend at the trade deadline prior to this move, and I would figure that this move could be the very last. That will give them about $17 million or so for trade deadline moves, which would be plenty to acquire pretty much any player they'd desire.
2) Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres aren't going anywhere, except Triple-A Scranton
The simple truth here is that the Yankees did not sign a veteran-2B so that they could trade their top third-base prospect. If Andujar was really going to go, then the Yankees would've been open to trading him for Gerrit Cole earlier in the offseason (which they were not) and he'd probably be gone now that they have Brandon Drury.
Likewise, the Yankees are not going to trade one of the Top-5 Prospects in baseball now that they (probably) have their opening day 2B. Gleyber hasn't looked too great at the plate this spring (.130/.200/.217) and will the need the time to get situated back into baseball while at a level that he can dominate. Neil Walker is nothing more than a one-year placeholder...which gets me to my next point:
3) We are still going to see Torres in the Pinstripes this year.
I guess this is more of a prediction, but it just seems too real to not happen. Neil Walker has had injury problems in the past few years, but has still been able to get above 110 games every year since 2010. However, there still needs to be somebody to cover those last 52 games or so, especially if there is a long-term injury to Walker. I'd imagine whoever is on the bench (Torreyes? Wade? etc.) will play a fair amount for him during the course of the season, but if he was to go down and Gleyber has been producing in Triple-A, I'd be expecting him to make his debut.
4) I think the Yankees Opening Day Starters can now be set
I don't think the Spring Training battle for 2B is going to be much of a factor at this point. Neil Walker is signing with the team to be their starting second baseman. That leads us to what the Yankees Opening Day Starters will probably be:
An outfield of Gardner, Hicks, and Judge
An infield of Sanchez, Bird, Walker, Didi, and Drury
Stanton at DH, and a starting pitcher (my bet is Tanaka) to be named.
Here are some projections for his 2018 performance from some of the big baseball statistic websites:
BBRef: .265/.340/.443 (.784 OPS), 17 HR, 45 BB, 85 K's
Fangraphs (Depth Charts): .269/.346/.458 (.804 OPS), 23 HR, 58 BB, 105 K's
Fangraphs (Steamer): .269/.345/.455 (.801 OPS), 16 HR, 41 BB, 75 K's
Fangraphs (ZIPS): .269/.346/.461 (.808 OPS), 19 HR, 47 BB, 84 K's