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Monday, March 12, 2018

Neil Walker signs one-year deal with Yankees | MLB.com

The 32-year-old Walker, who had been working out at the free-agent camp in Bradenton, is entering his 10th Major League season. His signing could signal the Yankees’ intent to have touted prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres begin the year in the Minor Leagues.

“I don’t control that,” Torres said. “I control playing my game every day and making progress every day, staying humble and trying to help my team. I don’t know what happens right now.”

Walker’s contract is believed to be worth about $5 million, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, which would keep the Yankees comfortably below their envisioned $197 million payroll threshold. Walker earned $17.2 million last year after accepting a qualifying offer from the Mets.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2018 at 06:58 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agents, neil walker, yankees

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 07:23 PM (#5637119)
Good acquisition. Should probably platoon at 2B with Wade or Torreyes.

If I'm the Yankees I probably do something like

vs RHP 1. Gardner, 2. Judge, 3. Bird, 4. Stanton, 5. Sanchez, 6. Walker, 7. Gregorius, 8. Hicks, 9. Drury
vs LHP 1. Hicks, 2. Judge, 3. Bird, 4. Stanton, 5. Sanchez (DH), 6. Gregorius, 7. Drury, 8. Wade, 9. Romine (ugh)
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 12, 2018 at 07:37 PM (#5637122)
That’s a really good get for the bombers. He’s exactly what they needed. Andijar, Torres and Wade should be fine but having someone reliable if they aren’t is a good call.
   3. JJ1986 Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:00 PM (#5637125)
Isn't Wade left-handed?
   4. Itsdrainageeli Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:32 PM (#5637131)
Wade throws right, bats left. So probably not a good platoon pairing with Walker. If Wade is ready, my guess is he's being groomed more for a super-utility roll.

At this point, I believe 3B belongs to drury and 2B belongs to Walker unless (or until) they fail, or one of the youngsters pushes them off. Torreyes could be a "partial" platoon with Walker since that's the right side anyway and he might not see as many at-bats. That leaves Andujar and Torres back to AAA unless their performance pushes them on the roster.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:34 PM (#5637133)
So much for Drury taking away one of his suitors.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:54 PM (#5637140)
It's become a funny world down at this end of the spectrum. Last year the Cubs gave Jay 1/$8 and he had a fine year. He did cement that he's not much of a backup CF anymore -- good enough for a couple of games of injury replacement but not much more -- so it's sensible he'd see some loss in value. Still, this year he got just 1/$3.

Last year, coming off a lousy year but a good month with Texas, Carlos Gomez got 1/$11.5. Now, after a solid 1.8 WAR season with average CF defense, he gets 1/$4.

Two years ago, Chris Young got 2/$13. He didn't do much in those two years ... still gets 1/$2 which is nice for him under the circumstances, makes that Gomez deal look like even more of a steal.

Mitch Moreland, a 32-year-old 1B with a career OPS+ of 100, 2.7 WAR over the last two years, all defense, gets 2/$13. Neil Walker, a 32-year-old 2B with a career OPS+ of 113, 3.9 WAR over the last two years, gets 1/$5. I'm not necessarily recommending him for the Red Sox -- he probably can handle 1B just fine and would provide backup for Pedroia/Devers so I'm not not recommending him -- but the better player got the worse deal.

There's always some of this down here, I don't know if it's more than usual. But WAR are looking very, very cheap down at this end of the market in 2018.
   7. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:11 PM (#5637145)
Walt - I would em liked Waljer for the Red Sox a ton but they just signed Eduardo Nunez. Walker is a better player but Nunez is good and to the Sox a known commodity which I think probably has some value. Also he can play shortstop in a pinch (more or less) which Walker hasn’t done in MLB. Both the Sox and Yankees needed a guy like that this winter and I think both have done well.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:39 PM (#5637151)
Wade throws right, bats left.

That sucks. Historically Walker is not good vs LHP.
   9. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:26 PM (#5637158)
Love that it's only a $5M/1 year deal, and you can never have enough depth.
   10. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:00 PM (#5637163)
Neil Walker and Todd Frazier both had solid years last year. Their combined salary was 29 million last year. This year it is 13 million.
   11. catomi01 Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:01 PM (#5637164)
torreyes is solid enough to pick up some of the abs against lefties at second if he’s the backup infielder. Then when either Torres or andujar are ready, drury and walker can slide into that platoon role. Wade gets the short end of the stick that way, but he’s the first call if anyone gets hurt, and they can get him some reps in the outfield to develop that super sub they want him to be.
   12. ptodd Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:49 PM (#5637169)
The haircuts continue
   13. Blastin Posted: March 13, 2018 at 09:06 AM (#5637191)
They could bring up Andujar, and then we'd never have to have Romine as part of the lineup. I mean, he'll have to play sometimes. But if he's C and Sanchez is DH, he's getting hit for and we lose the DH. Just start him once a week or something.

I'd also rather have the two titans back to back and use Bird before Sanchez.

So I'd go Gardner/Judge/Stanton/Bird/Sanchez/Didi/Walker/Hicks/Andujar
Hicks/Judge/Stanton/Bird/Sanchez/Drury/Didi/Andujar/Torreyes

But they probably keep Andujar down, in which case they do indeed have way too much Romine.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5637205)
They could bring up Andujar, and then we'd never have to have Romine as part of the lineup. I mean, he'll have to play sometimes. But if he's C and Sanchez is DH, he's getting hit for and we lose the DH. Just start him once a week or something.

I don't understand. Sanchez can't catch 140 games. Romine has to start at least 40 times.

I'd also rather have the two titans back to back and use Bird before Sanchez.

So I'd go Gardner/Judge/Stanton/Bird/Sanchez/Didi/Walker/Hicks/Andujar
Hicks/Judge/Stanton/Bird/Sanchez/Drury/Didi/Andujar/Torreyes


This makes things too easy on the opposing bullpen. They'll get to spot a tough RHP against Judge and Stanton without having to face a lefty. Lots of the non-closer RH RPs suck vs. LHB. You want to force them to face a lefty in order to face Judge and Stanton.
   15. Blastin Posted: March 13, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5637225)
There really aren't very many righty-killers in RPs.

As for Romine, yeah, I guess he has to start 3 times every two weeks. I'm not sure I'd do it specifically vs LHP, because then he's playing almost every Red Sox game (Sale, Price, Pomeranz, Rodriguez....) and, no. There are a ton of lefties in the AL East, and we aren't just going to punt offense that often.

But yeah, it has to be every 4 games or so, sadly.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:06 AM (#5637236)
There really aren't very many righty-killers in RPs.

I disagree. Most RH middle-relievers are fastball/slider guys. Very few have an out pitch vs. LHB. If they did, they'd be closers or SP.

I just looked at the top 50 RH RP by WAR, 22 had a split of greater than 0.025 wOBA vs LHB. 51 of the top 100 have at least that big a split.
   17. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:23 AM (#5637249)
Even if a RHP doesn't have dramatic platoon splits (which a lot of them do as snapper points out), a RHH might dramatically prefer facing a LHP so you're getting an advantage that way as well.
   18. Blastin Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5637257)
Fair enough. Though I don't think it will ultimately matter too much anyway.
   19. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5637266)
Fair enough. Though I don't think it will ultimately matter too much anyway.


Agreed. Lineup construction is mostly for aesthetics as long as your best players are getting the most at bats.
   20. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5637268)
From RAB:

The full contract details: $4M guaranteed with an additional $500,000 in incentives ($125,000 each for 450, 475, 500, and 525 plate appearances), plus Jon Heyman says Walker gets a suite on the road.
   21. Blastin Posted: March 13, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5637269)
And aesthetically I want my back to back titans!
   22. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5637270)
I get that! I'm not a Yankees fan but the lack of aesthetics of Greg Bird hitting cleanup would outweigh the Judge/Stanton twin tower effect for me. Maybe put Gregorius up second and drop Bird in the lineup until he starts hitting?
   23. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 11:08 AM (#5637276)
So Gardy, Didi, Judge, Stanton, Bird, Sanchez, Walker, Hicks, Andujar? I would put Sanchez up 5th but then you have 3 RHH in a row and like snapper said that does make it easy for teams to just line a RHP up for all 3 of them. Eh whatever, the Yankees are going to score a lot of runs this year.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5637283)
Fair enough. Though I don't think it will ultimately matter too much anyway.

It's a small advantage, but it's free. Take all the free advantages you can get.
   25. PreservedFish Posted: March 13, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5637420)
Walker gets a suite on the road.


Do most MLB players still need to share bedrooms?
   26. Sunday silence Posted: March 13, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5637424)
THis whole conversation seems rather strange because Aaron Judge has a significant REVERSE SPLIT.

He tends to mash righties. BOth players have major splits, about 50 pts ba and 150+ in .slug. But even so Stanton still slugged .600 vs righties (you really dont care who he's facing); whereas Judge slug .496 vs lefties. You're better off batting them back to back since their splits compliment one another.

I didnt figure out how to find minor league splits, so I have no idea if Judge had similar splits in the minors. It wouldnt suprise me if he didnt, last year seems to have been a major spike for him. I'd be worried more about him returning back to earth. .
   27. BDC Posted: March 13, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5637426)
Do most MLB players still need to share bedrooms?

I assume they get single hotel rooms routinely, but that "suite" means living room, two bedrooms, kitchen, sun-room, kids' playroom, 2½ baths, and squash court.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5637427)
THis whole conversation seems rather strange because Aaron Judge has a significant REVERSE SPLIT.

He tends to mash righties. BOth players have major splits, about 50 pts ba and 150+ in .slug. But even so Stanton still slugged .600 vs righties (you really dont care who he's facing); whereas Judge slug .496 vs lefties. You're better off batting them back to back since their splits compliment one another.


No one really has a reverse split. It's a SSS artifact.
   29. Sunday silence Posted: March 13, 2018 at 04:37 PM (#5637472)
I dont know. I dont think we know as much about platoon splits as we think we do.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: March 13, 2018 at 05:57 PM (#5637524)
I think we probably know as much about platoon splits as we can. Now maybe Judge struggles on pitches low and in and therefore has a problem with LHP breaking balls and RHP low inside fastballs ... but that's not really a platoon split. Or, in Judge's case, once it was obvious he was a monster, he never saw an easy LHP after the 5th inning but saw a ton of tough RHRs which could lead to results that look like a reverse split.

There's some evidence of that -- only 23% of his PAs were vs. LHP which is both a SSS issue and a "we have enough sense not to let him face a LHP when we don't have to" issue. And the LHP he faced had enough sense not to pitch to him -- walk rate over 25%. Also from innings 7-9, he hit "only" 234/373/473 and I'll guess most of that came against RHR. (Jeepers! 378/500/906 in innings 4-6 ... do not let Judge face your starter for a 3rd time, especially your LHS). (Yeah, that's probably mostly SSS weirdness too.)

But sure, Stanton and Judge (if he really is anything close to this good) can hit RHP -- you don't become a top hitter as a RHB if you can't. RHBs tend to have fairly small splits and the days of being able to carry a 250 PA lefty killer on your bench may have ended already. (Or he's pushed into the 400 PA 4th OF role, spotted against LHP as much as possible.)

By the way, I've been trying to popularize the use of RHR/LHR and RHS/LHS for relievers and starters ... vastly more compact than "RH RP." :-)
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2018 at 09:49 PM (#5637577)
But sure, Stanton and Judge (if he really is anything close to this good) can hit RHP

Right. But the point is not to help their stats, it's to help the stats of Greg Bird (for example) by giving him PA against RHR who aren't good against LHB.

Judge/Sanchez/Stanton/Bird/Gregorius produces a lower total output than Judge/Bird/Stanton/Gregorius/Sanchez b/c Bird and Gregorius are never going to face RHR with bad platoon splits in the first lineup, while they will in the 2nd.
   32. catomi01 Posted: March 14, 2018 at 09:13 AM (#5637702)
I know people have spend a lot more time and brain power studying it than I have, but it still seems like the best bet is just to get your best hitters the most AB's. Going into the season, that pretty clearly includes Judge and Stanton, so I'd likely bat them 2-3 in the order, and slot everyone else in behind them (with the only realy change to that putting some space between the lefties in the lineup.) Really, I think a case could be made for: 1. Judge 2. Stanton 3. Sanchez...based on how they hit last season. As others have pointed out, this lineup is going to score runs - any changes you make to it are going to have a relatively minor impact (make them anyway to optimize - but there's not really a "wrong answer" in there unless they end up with Judge or Stanton hitting lower than 4th).
   33. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: March 14, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5637705)
Minor league splits are in baseball-reference, among other places, and Judge was better against lefties than righties in all of his full minor league seasons.

2014: 1.018 versus lefties, .868 versus righties
2015: .921; .735
2016: .888; .775

It would take a LOT of evidence for me to believe that a given hitter has a reverse split.

That said, pitchers are different and there are a handful of instances at any given time where their attributes (arm slot, pitches) and past performance suggest said differential. Teams know this - the Brewers, for instance, used righty Oliver Drake (throws over the top; heavily dependent on a splitter) as if he were a LOOGY last year (over 60% of his opponent PA were against lefties, against whom he has been much more successful).
   34. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 14, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5637706)
I know people have spend a lot more time and brain power studying it than I have, but it still seems like the best bet is just to get your best hitters the most AB's.


Agreed. I hate to see people advocating for less PA for Judge and Stanton in order for Gardner/Hicks/Bird to get more PA.

   35. PreservedFish Posted: March 14, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5637728)
Well, those with more time and brain power say that the #2 and #4 are the two most important batting spots. The #3 hitter is surprisingly less critical - he comes up with bases empty and 2 outs too often and rarely leads off innings. Judge #2, Stanton #4, Sanchez #5 distributes your best big hitters in the best big spots. And so whoever is best among Bird or Gregorius (or Walker!) would slot in quite nicely at #3, even before we get to the fact that he will help punish the use of ROOGYs.

As for leadoff, you want a good hitter and a high OBP guy but there's no sense in wasting a power bat there due to diminished RBI opportunities. The Yanks have a natural CF leadoff platoon of high-walk guys in Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks, perhaps not ideal, but I think it's the easy and obvious choice.
   36. catomi01 Posted: March 14, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5637747)
Just for fun - based on the above link - my DMB team (using Zips) should look something like this:

1 Jason Kipnis 2B
2 Mike Trout CF
3 Mark Reynolds 3B
4 Jay Bruce DH
5 Tyler O'Neill LF
6 Jorge Mateo SS
7 A.J. Reed 1B
8 Salvador Perez C
9 Lonnie Chisenhall RF

Though Mateo is probably so much worse than the rest that it would make more sense to put him ninth. Not far off from what I would have done instinctively anyways...though if I had one more decent bat, I would probably just put Trout lead-off. (Also - I really need to upgrade the left side of my infield).
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5637756)
Agreed. I hate to see people advocating for less PA for Judge and Stanton in order for Gardner/Hicks/Bird to get more PA.

No one's arguing that.

As Preserved said, we're arguing that spots #2, #4, and #5 are the most important, so you put your best 3 hitters there. That also has the advantage of putting a LHB between Stanton and Judge to punish RHR who aren't good vs. LHB.

You just don't put a 50 HR guy #1. It's crazy. Why do you want him batting behind your 3 worst hitters? Batting #1 pretty much minimizes your RBI opportunities.
   38. catomi01 Posted: March 14, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5637803)
You just don't put a 50 HR guy #1. It's crazy. Why do you want him batting behind your 3 worst hitters? Batting #1 pretty much minimizes your RBI opportunities.


Agreed in general - just to get him more PA's (and in turn bump everyone else up). Batting 2nd, Judge would still be hitting behind your 2 worst batters (in front of the leadoff hitter). Moving the leadoff hitter to 7th has basically the same effect - except for the guarantee that at least 1 PA will have no one on base. That's the trade off for the extra PA's.

The Yankees could do this:

1. Judge
2. Stanton
3. Bird
4. Sanchez
5. Gregorius
6. Walker
7. Gardner
8. Hicks
9. Drury

And there would be plenty of people on base for Judge (and argually more for Stanton). Also has the advantage of letting Gardner and Hicks run a little bit with Drury (something they should basically never be doing with Judge at the plate.) Again, not saying that's the optimal lineup (or even close to it), just that its not a non-starter - just really reinforcing the idea that with the top 6-7 batters they have this year, its pretty hard to construct a bad lineup.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5637850)
Agreed in general - just to get him more PA's (and in turn bump everyone else up). Batting 2nd, Judge would still be hitting behind your 2 worst batters (in front of the leadoff hitter). Moving the leadoff hitter to 7th has basically the same effect - except for the guarantee that at least 1 PA will have no one on base. That's the trade off for the extra PA's.

It's a terrible trade-off. Look at PreservedFish's link. The leadoff hitter only bats with men on base 36% of the time. The #2 spot in the lineup is 44%. In exchange you get ~15 extra PAs by batting #1 instead of #2.

You'd be trading more than 50 extra PA with men on (8% of 650 PA) for 18 extra PAs, most with no one on. That's a bad, bad trade with a guy with immense power like Judge.

And there would be plenty of people on base for Judge (and argually more for Stanton).

No there wouldn't be. The cleanup hitter bats with men on 51% of the time. The #1 hitter 36, the #2 hitter 44%.

Assuming 650 PA for Judge at #2, and 620 PA for Stanton at #4, they bat with men on 286 times for Judge, and 316 times for Stanton.

Moving them to #1 and #2 adds 15 PA to Judge, and 30 to Stanton for 665 and 650. But they only bat with men on 239 and 286 times respectively.

So you've added 45 PA to the pair (16 with men on) but subtracted 77 PA with men on base. That's a terrible, terrible move with guys who have 50 HR power. These are guys that homer in 7% of their PAs.
   40. catomi01 Posted: March 14, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5637865)
All true and not arguing - just pointing out that the difference in actual production is probably small - 77 PA with men on base is going to add up to fractions of a win (if that). Really, I'm just bored at work because our server is down and I'm waiting on our networking guys to fix things up with Microsoft...so its basically this and trying to fill in the gaps for my softball team starting Sunday. Luckily the Yankees are on now (where ironically the broadcasters just starting talking about the Yankees lineup construction.)

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