Milwaukee Brewers: Potential Landing Spots For Neil Walker
The Milwaukee Brewers have three free agents from the 2017 season after Eric Sogard signed a one year deal back in October. Neil Walker is the only position player from the Brewers still on the free agent market. Where could he go?
It’s no guarantee that Walker returns to the Milwaukee Brewers. At the end of the regular season it seemed extremely unlikely that both Sogard and Walker would return to Milwaukee. The odds were good that one of them would come back and now that Sogard has already returned, Walker seems to be out the door. But the door hasn’t shut behind him.
Walker is probably the top free agent second baseman on the market this winter. Because of that, he will have some teams after him. The Brewers still need to upgrade that position but they will have more competition for Walker than they did Sogard. Walker has said he wants to test the free agent waters and would likely only come back if he didn’t find a good deal anywhere else.
So where could he go? Walker should have a good selection of teams to choose from.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels make the most sense to land Neil Walker and are considered the favorites at this point. Los Angeles has a more desperate need at second base than even the Brewers. They received little production from a revolving door of players in 2017. Considering they only missed the playoffs by a few games and they still have the best player in baseball on their team in Mike Trout, they are going to push for improvements.
Now that Brandon Phillips and Cliff Pennington are free agents for LAA and are unlikely to return, the Halos need a productive bat at the keystone. Walker is a perfect fit for the Angels.
New York Mets
Ironically, the team that traded him away in August is one of the teams that needs him. The Mets are searching everywhere for a second baseman. They have been in trade discussions with the Tigers on Ian Kinsler and could be in on other trade targets as well. New York needs a lot of work on their roster and second base is just one position. They know Walker well from his time there and should be open to a reunion.
The Mets gave Walker a Qualifying Offer last year and he accepted. While he won’t cost $17 million per year to sign this winter, he should be on the table for New York.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays also received little production from the second base position in 2017. Incumbent starter Ryan Goins finished last season with a .237/.286/.356 line and has never hit above .250 in a single season. Toronto could use a more productive bat at that position. Walker posted a .265/.362/.439 line with 14 homers and is a clear upgrade over any in house options Toronto has.
If the Jays wish to compete in the AL East, they will need add some firepower to that lineup. Walker provides the perfect boost to their lineup.
The Brewers have a number of players capable of playing second base. Between Eric Sogard, Hernan Perez, and Jonathan Villar with Mauricio Dubon waiting in the wings, the Crew has plenty of options. But which player could Craig Counsell be comfortable putting in the lineup every day? None of them. That’s where Neil Walker comes in. The Milwaukee Brewers are familiar with him and would enjoy the production he brings as well as the experience.
If Walker returns, it would have to be a one year deal. The Brewers have too many options coming through the system to develop to keep Walker any longer than that. He’s projected to land a two year deal on the free agent market and if he gets that anywhere else, Walker will not return to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Next: Which outfielder has the most trade value?
There aren’t that many teams searching for a second baseman but Neil Walker is the best of the free agent bunch and should receive a fair share of offers. The odds of his return are still extremely low but if he remains on the market into January, the Milwaukee Brewers could bring him back.