Miami is clearly not in a position to win as they began a massive tear-down rebuild last offseason, but they have went out and signed a veteran and that is infielder Neil Walker. The deal between Walker and the Marlins is just for this season.
Neil Walker has had a very nice career, that has spanned 10 seasons and has involved him finishing 5th in the Rookie of the Year voting during the 2010 season and saw him win a Silver Slugger Award in 2014.
Walker was however at his best while he was in Pittsburgh, which was from the time he made his debut in the 2009 season, until he was traded to the Mets after the 2015 season. Since that time he has seen a decline in his play, but he went through by far his worst statistical season of his career last season when he played for the Yankees. It’s tough to know what contributed to that. It could’ve been his skills deteriorating as a player, which would be a little surprising because it was only his age 32 season, or it could’ve been because he wasn’t getting regular playing time because the Yankees had a full infield.
Walker has spent most of his time in the major leagues playing second base, but he has played sparingly at other positions, mostly last season in New York. Last season for the Marlins, Starlin Castro played second base and he’s still on the roster, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do about that, but Castro has a lot of experience playing shortstop so he could move over there and Neil Walker could slide in at second base.
Regardless of where they decide to slot Walker in, he should bring a nice veteran presence to a really young Marlins team, and he is someone that it wouldn’t shock me one bit to see him traded to a contender before the trade deadline.
Overall grade: C+