Sunday, 12:30 ET: The deal was officially confirmed by both teams on Saturday night. The Brewers will send a player to be named later to the Mets for Walker and cash considerations, which will offset some of the infielder’s remaining $4.7 million salary in 2017. Walker was pulled during batting practice prior to the Mets’ game against the Phillies and was replaced in the lineup by second baseman Jose Reyes.
FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Brewers are acquiring second baseman Neil Walker from the Braves. Walker cleared revocable waivers last week and was eligible to be traded to any team in the league, though neither team has officially confirmed the deal yet.
The 31-year-old infielder missed a significant chunk of the season after rehabbing a partial tear in his left hamstring and was activated from the 10-day disabled list just three days before the trade deadline. While a deadline deal with the Yankees was in the works, it fell through at the last minute due to concerns about his medical records. Walker was quick to reassure reporters that he had made a full return to health prior to any trade discussions, however, and called the Yankees’ concerns “a non-story.” Whether his medicals revealed an underlying issue or just gave the Yankees a plausible out after trading for the Athletics’ Sonny Gray is unknown, but the Brewers don’t appear to have the same hang-ups this time around.
Walker is in his second season with the Mets and slashed .264/.339/.442 with 10 home runs and a .780 OPS over 299 PA in 2017. He’s seen a sizable dip in both his playing time and production value this year, but could give Milwaukee some much-needed infield depth as they try to leapfrog the Cardinals and Cubs for the division lead.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.