The Milwaukee Brewers acquired second baseman Neil Walker and cash from the New York Mets on Saturday for a player to be named later.
The Brewers, who trail the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals by two games in the National League Central, have been seeking an upgrade at second base and also expressed interest in Detroit’s Ian Kinsler. Milwaukee’s second basemen before the trade – Jonathan Villar and Eric Sogard, rank last in the league with a .672 OPS.
Walker, 32, is hitting .264 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs in 73 games this season, and has a career .272/.339/.437 slash line over nine seasons. The Mets acquired him from Pittsburgh in December 2015.
“I think we’re adding a professional, experienced hitter who we can deploy in our lineup in a number of different places,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “A switch-hitter who has had a tremendous amount of success against right-handed pitching throughout his career, including this season.
“We’re excited to add Neil to our team. It’s not always that you can add that type of person and bat at this time of year, but we were certainly happy that Neil was available.”
Walker underwent back surgery last September and was activated July 28 after missing six weeks with a torn left hamstring, but said his health is not a concern. After struggling since returning from the DL, Walker was 6-for-9 with a home run in his final two games as a Met.
“I felt like I went through spring training all over again,” Walker said in a media conference call. “Actually, the injury didn’t bother me. My swing just didn’t feel great. The last couple of days, I felt a lot better. Hopefully, I can carry that momentum into my time with the Brewers.”
Walker was replaced by Jose Reyes 10 minutes before the start of the Mets’ game on Saturday. He is playing on a one-year, $17.2 million deal and will be a free agent after the season. Walker is owed $4.7 million through the rest of the season, part of which will be paid by the Mets.
“He’s a first-rate guy,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said of Walker. “He was very important in the clubhouse, and we’re very glad we had him for the time that we did. I think he distinguished himself in his time as a Met.”
Walker’s departure continues a sell-off for the Mets, who have also traded closer Addison Reed to the Boston Red Sox, first baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays and outfielder Jay Bruce to the Cleveland Indians.