Neil Walker split his ninth season last year between the Mets and Brewers. Coming off a solid .265/.362/.439 season with a 114 wRC+ and a 2.1 fWAR, Walker seemed destined for a hefty payday. He entered a relatively thin free agent market at second base. There appeared to be more buyers than players available.
However, a variety of unique moves have sapped up much of the need for second basemen, leaving Walker still looking for a job as Spring Training draws near.
The Angels were considered one of the biggest buyers in the market, and they had a need up the middle. However, Detroit’s aforementioned Ian Kinsler trade filled that hole, giving Walker one less team to bid for his services.
The Milwaukee Brewers could still be keen on a reunion with Walker, but their recent Lorenzo Cain signing and rumored interest in starter Yu Darvish would remove any financial flexibility they have to sign him. Should they run low on money, they would be out of the running for Walker.
This does not leave many contending teams with a clear-cut need at second base. And the teams in need have other options. Eduardo Nunez, Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips and Nick Franklin are all still available on the free agent market. Additionally, new Miami infielder Starlin Castro is likely to be traded by Miami, who is trying to cut costs.
This certainly puts the 32-year-old Walker in a tough situation.