Detroit Tigers: Should they target Neil Walker?
While they have made very few major league roster additions, the Detroit Tigers have signed a flurry of players to minor league deals. Among those are four players who could conceivably make the big league roster as infielders: Ronny Rodriguez, Niko Goodrum, Pete Kozma and Alexi Amarista.
Having all four of them certainly makes Walker more of a luxury than a necessity. However, Walker’s incredible consistency (he has posted a 1.9 fWAR or higher every season since 2010) and solid reputation would be a nice fit on a young, rebuilding Detroit squad.
Walker is a switch-hitter who posted a career-high .365 on-base percentage last year. He has hit 12 or more home runs every year since 2010, including two seasons over 20. He would immediately slot in as the teams starting second baseman, and would likely hit either first or second in the order.
Additionally, Walker’s cost is at an all-time low. Back in November, MLB Trade Rumors predicted Todd Frazier would sign a contract at three years, $33 million dollars. The market has been so slow to develop that Frazier just accepted a two-year, $17 million dollar deal. Walker could see a drastic drop as well. That would make him a much more appealing target for a Detroit team that is trying to cut costs.
At the beginning of the offseason, MLBTradeRumors projected Walker to sign a two-year, $22 million dollar deal. While Walker is still likely to ask for multiple years, something closer to two years and $14 million dollars seems plausible.
The Tigers should seriously consider shelling out $14 million dollars to add Walker.
Next: A look at the 2018 Infield
There is nothing wrong with going into the regular season with Machado at second. However, if a consistent, durable player falls into your lap at an affordable rate, the Tigers should consider taking advantage.