Not gonna say that (a) I’ve tuned out of the Mets season entirely; or (b) that I don’t watch the Brewers all that much, but I forgot for a minute there that Neil Walker had even been traded. But yep, he was traded to Milwaukee a month ago today along with cash for a player to be named later.
Today that player was named: it’s righty minor leaguer Eric Hanhold.
Hanhold was a sixth-round pick in 2015. He posted a 3.94 ERA and 60/21 K/BB ratio over 64 innings with High-A Carolina this season. That makes [mashes hands on calculator] approximately 359 relievers the Mets have acquired in the past couple of months, in some seeming obsession of Sandy Alderson to answer the question, “what if they made the WHOLE PLANE baseball team out of relief pitchers?”
Anyway, Neil Walker has hit .268/.388/.465 in 23 games with the Brewers, who are still very much in the NL Central race.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.