The Diamondbacks have claimed first baseman/outfielder Christian Walker off waivers from the Reds, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer was among those to tweet. The move opens a roster spot for the Reds’ addition of infielder Scooter Gennett. Arizona has designated reliever Evan Marshall to create roster space, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets.
It’s not the first time that Walker has changed hands over the offseason. He bounced previously from the Orioles to the Braves before moving to Cincinnati. Though he hasn’t seen much MLB time, Walker has hit fairly well at Triple-A. In what amounts to about two full seasons at the highest level of the minors, he owns a .260/.324/.429 slash with 42 home runs.
The trouble is, Walker hasn’t quite hit enough to push out an established big leaguer from a first base job. And he is new to the outfield, leaving it unclear just how he’ll fit on a National League roster. While Arizona had previously parted with a similarly hard-to-fit player in Peter O’Brien, the club now evidently felt there was roster space to spare.
As for Marshall, who’ll soon turn 27, the results have just not been there over the past two seasons. He turned in a high-quality 2014 season (2.74 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9) that seemingly made him a long-term piece. But while his velocity has largely stayed consistent, he tumbled to an 8.8% swinging-strike rate in 2016 and was hardly dominant during his time at Triple-A. In his 5 1/3 spring innings, Marshall had permitted only two earned runs, but did allow nine base hits while compiling three strikeouts to go with one free pass.