Walker signs deal with Yankees

NEW YORK LIFESTYLE — Second baseman Neil Walker fields a grounder during drills on Feb. 27 in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Free agent Neil Walker and the Yankees agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract, a 75 percent paycut for the infielder in a deal that allows New York prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar more time to mature in the minor leagues.

Walker likely will start at second base and Brandon Drury, acquired from Arizona last month, will play third. Walker can make $1 million in performance bonuses: $125,000 each for 425, 450, 475 and 500 plate appearances.

Walker is among the victims of a historically slow free agent market. He earned $17.2 million last season, when he accepted a qualifying offer from the New York Mets. The 32-year-old hit .265 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs last year for the Mets and Milwaukee, who acquired him Aug. 12.

An agreement with Walker at that price would raise the Yankees’ projected luxury tax payroll to approximately $181 million, about $16 million below the luxury tax threshold.

He had been working out at the camp for free agents in Bradenton, Fla., organized by the players’ association.