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Yankees sign Neil Walker


The Yankees have agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with free agent second baseman Neil Walker. He can earn an additional $1 million in incentives. That’s a massive pay cut for Walker, who accepted the qualifying offer from the Mets last year, paying him $17.2 million.

Walker 32, hit .265/.362/.439 with 14 home runs in 448 PA with the Mets and Brewers last season. While that was a falloff from his 2016, part of his regression can be traced back to a left hamstring strain which landed him on the disabled list for over six weeks in June. All in all he was pretty close to his career norms last year, and saw his production improve after being traded to Milwaukee in August. In nine seasons, Walker has a line of .272/.341/.437 (OPS+ 113). The switch-hitting Walker has slugged considerably higher as a lefty in the course of his career, so the short porch in right field is going to treat him pretty well.

Until this signing, the Yankees had a pretty open competition going for the second and third base slots, with some combination of Tyler Wade, the newly-acquired Brandon Drury, Miguel AndujarRonald Torreyes and top prospect Gleyber Torres all figuring in the mix. While the Yankees envision Torres to be the long-term solution at the keystone, Walker is more of a known quantity for a team that is on a win-now footing. Walker has also played a little third base and first base in his career, so he’ll give manager Aaron Boone a lot of options on his infield.

Justin Turner suffers broken wrist after being hit by a pitch

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Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics after he was hit by a pitch. He went for X-rays, revealing that he suffered a broken wrist, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Shaikin adds that Turner is unlikely to return before May, noting that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman missed six weeks with a similar injury last year and Astros outfielder George Springer missed nine weeks in 2015.

Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the Dodgers. Last year, Turner hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 543 plate appearances, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting.

Thankfully, the Dodgers have some versatile players on the roster. Logan Forsythe could move from second base to third, giving Chase Utley more playing time at second. Enrique Hernandez could man the hot corner as well. Chris Taylor has played some third base, or he could shift to second base in Forsythe’s stead. The club should shed some light on how it plans to move forward following Turner’s injury.