The Royals may still be looking to improve the club, with Dayton Moore saying the team needs to add a left-handed bat. There are still a number of quality free agents remaining on the market, including Mike Moustakas, but the Royals may have been interested in a different infielder - Neil Walker.
According to Boston Globe reporter Nick Cafardo, the Royals made the second baseman an offer - just not a very lucrative one.
The Royals were unsuccessful in trying to bring Walker aboard. His asking price was too high. The Royals were hoping to bring in Walker on a minor league deal, with the chance to make the big club.
The switch-hitting Walker had a line of .265/.362/.439 with 14 home runs in 111 games split between the Mets and Brewers. He accepted a Qualifying Offer the previous off-season after hitting a career-high 23 home runs with a 121 OPS+ and earned $17.2 million last year.
The report comes from Cafardo, who has a dubious track record in rumors involving non-Red Sox teams. How Walker would fit in the Royals’ plans seems very unclear. The team already has Whit Merrifield at second base, although he has spent some time in centerfield this spring and could play all over the field. But if Merrifield does not spend most of his time at second, presumably the job would belong to young Adalberto Mondesí.
Perhaps the Royals see Walker as an elite utility infielder - he has played a handful of games at third base. But the 32-year old definitely doesn’t fit in any kind of long-term plans for the Royals. And the team should be focused on the long-term more than anything right now. At best, he could be an asset they could flip at the trade deadline. Last summer, he was traded for a 23-year old reliever in A ball.
Neil Walker can help a lot of teams win games - there seems to be no way he would accept a minor league deal. But it is curious he is still available at this point of the off-season.