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Yankees sign Neil Walker to a $5 million deal

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Neil Walker joins the Yankees on a cheap deal, if you can believe it.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a largely unfair offseason for quite a few talented free agents, but when the market implodes like it has, there’s little else to do but settle. Neil Walker has signed a $5 million deal with the team that will essentially guarantee him the starting job at second base. The move immediately improves the infield and gives the team’s prospects some extra time in the minors.

Walker hit .265/.362/.439 with 14 home runs split between the Mets and the Brewers in 2017. Given his history as an above-average power hitter at the age of 32, he should have been set up for a multi-year deal with a team needing a short-term solution at second. Instead, he’ll settle for far less in terms of guaranteed money and job security, which suits the Yankees just fine at this point.

Star prospect Gleyber Torres seems to be rusty after missing half of last season to injury. He has hit only .130/.200/.217 across 10 games this spring. Given that his service time can be manipulated by keeping him in the minors for just two weeks, there i no pressure to bring him up to open the season.

The player this hurts the most is 23-year-old infielder Tyler Wade, who has hit .292/.357/.333 in 11 games. He was positioning himself to make the Opening Day team before this move was announced. Now his only chance is to make the team in a bench role. He will be competing against incumbent Ronald Torreyes and whoever Aaron Boone decides will be the backup first baseman.