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Yankees sign Neil Walker

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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.

Video: Javier Báez jukes David Freese to avoid tag at first base

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Cubs shortstop Javier Báez pulled off one of the best jukes you’ll see, avoiding the tag from David Freese on a play at first base in the second inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Dodgers. Báez barely made contact with a Kenta Maeda pitch well outside the strike zone, tapping it towards Freese. Báez halted his momentum, juking Freese while he attempted to apply the tag, then dove into first base.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts attempted to argue that Báez went out of the baseline, but the umpires’ no-call stood and Báez had himself a single. He would end up stranded on base, unfortunately for him and the Cubs.