Curtis Granderson isn’t the only veteran Marlins role player who’s open to a reunion with the club, it seems. Infielder/outfielder Neil Walker tells MLB.com’s Bill Ladson that he’s “not going to close the door” when it comes to re-signing with the Fish. Like Granderson, Walker relishes the opportunity to share more than a decade’s worth of big league experience with an up-and-coming wave of young players in the Miami clubhouse. “You feel like it’s necessary to share with the younger generation,” said Walker.
While it can’t be certain that any veteran in his mid- or late-30s will find interest in the current free-agent climate, Walker would seem to have a better case for a shot with the Marlins or another big league club in 2020 than Granderson — at least based solely on the pair’s on-field performance. The switch-hitting Walker, who just turned 34, has had a solid year at the plate, hitting .261/.346/.386 with seven homers, 18 doubles and a triple in 373 trips to the plate. He’s primarily served as a first baseman with the Marlins (510 innings) but has also logged 162 innings at third base. Walker, of course, has boatloads of experience at second base, where he’s amassed nearly 9000 innings at the MLB level. Walker also saw some time in the outfield corners during his 2018 stint with the Yankees.
Walker was able to secure a modest one-year, $2MM contract with the Marlins for the 2019 season despite a tepid .219/.309/.354 slash line with the Yankees last year. Given that he’s coming off a much better season at the plate, it stands to reason that Walker should be able to find at least another one-year pact to occupy a bench role — particularly with MLB rosters set to expand from 25 to 26 players beginning next season.
That said, if Walker isn’t able to find offers to his liking this coming winter, he’s already looking ahead to the future. Walker made clear that once he’s done as a player, he’d be interested in calling big league games — be it on TV or on the radio. Eventual broadcast aspirations aside, Walker seems like he has enough left in the tank at the plate to help a club in 2020 — particularly if said team is comfortable moving him around the diamond a bit more than the Marlins did this year. At the very least, it’s not hard to imagine another rebuilding club bringing him aboard as a low-cost bench piece.