Brewers Acquire Neil Walker
Following Saturday night’s 6–5 walk-off victory in extra innings over the Cincinnati Reds, the Milwaukee Brewers confirmed the reported acquisition of Neil Walker from the New York Mets.
Walker, who will turn 32 years old next month, joins a team which has been sorely lacking offensive production at his primary defensive position of second base for much of the 2017 season and nearly the entire post-All Star Game portion.
Having played parts of nine MLB seasons, Walker is a veteran ballplayer who will greatly increase the overall experience in the Brewers’ clubhouse and add some playoff experience to a roster somewhat short on both.
Still very much in the thick of the National League Central Division race, the Brewers have seen their fortunes fade quickly from a 5.5 game division lead at the All-Star break to a deficit of 2.0 games and a third place standing. The thing about the division all season is that no one has been able to pull away from the pack as has happened elsewhere in the NL.
A switch-hitter, Walker will help continue the theme of being balanced at the plate throughout the lineup regardless of where and when he plays. Walker can provide coverage at first base and third base in addition to his primary spot. Walker also provides a switch-hitter off the bench in games where he isn’t in the starting lineup.
“We’re adding a very professional, experienced hitter who we can deploy in our lineup in a number of different places,” said Brewers General Manager David Stearns who announced the trade following Saturday’s game. “A switch-hitter who’s had a tremendous amount of success against right-handed pitching throughout his career and this season.”
Stearns said that adding Walker was a matter of timing and availability.
“It’s not always that you can acquire that type of person and bat at this time of year,” revealed Stearns, “but we were certainly happy that Neil was available and happy to be able to bring him into the fold.”
For his part, Walker sounded pleased to be coming back to the NL Central and into a playoff hunt.
“More than anything, I’m excited to be back in a playoff race in a place that I am very familiar — the NL Central and Milwaukee — so I’m looking forward to getting there and joining the team and hopefully helping as much as I can,” Walker said over the phone after the trade was announced. “Hopefully Milwaukee is as kind to me as it’s already been in my career. I’ve always felt pretty good there.”
Walker, as Brewers fans are all too well aware, has hit very well both at Miller Park and overall against Milwaukee pitching over his career. In 425 total at-bats against the Brewers, the most against any one opponent over his career, Walker is slashing .274/.325/.445/.770 which belies the impact of the timeliness and impact of his contributions in an opponent’s uniform. In 220 Miller Park plate appearances, Walker owns a .286/.332/.534/.866 line which includes 11 home runs and 31 RBIs.
Stearns wasn’t able to say whether Walker would arrive in time to be active for Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Reds, but Walker said that his current itinerary includes an early morning flight that should get him to Milwaukee and to his new home ballpark in plenty of time before the game.
The Brewers are certainly hoping that whenever Walker arrives it will be followed with much personal success in the box score as well as team success in the win column.
What follows is the text from the official press release made by the Brewers announcing the acquisition.
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired second baseman Neil Walker and cash from the New York Mets in exchange for a player to be named. Corresponding moves to make room on the 40/25-man rosters will take place tomorrow. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
Walker, who turns 32 on September 10, batted .264 with 10 HR and 36 RBI in 73 games with the Mets this season. He was on the 10-day disabled list from June 15 to July 27 with a partial tear in his left hamstring. He is batting .667 (6-for-9, 5r, 1hr, 2rbi, 1bb) over his last two games.
Walker, a switch-hitter, owns a career .272 batting average with 126 HR and 509 RBI in 1,022 games between Pittsburgh (2009–15) and New York (2016–17). His 125 HR as a second baseman since 2010 trails only Robinson Canó (202), Ian Kinsler (132) and Brian Dozier (131). In 51 career games at Miller Park, he is batting .286 (59-for-206) with 11 HR and 31 RBI.