The Phillies announced Friday that they’ve designated veteran infielder Neil Walker for assignment and swapped him out for fellow veteran Ronald Torreyes, whose contract has been selected from their alternate training site. Additionally, southpaw Adam Morgan has been reinstated from the injured list, and righty Ramon Rosso is up as the 29th man for today’s twin bill.
Walker, who turned 35 yesterday, beat out a crowded field to secure a bench spot with the Phillies during Summer Camp. In addition to Torreyes, the Phils had Josh Harrison, Logan Forsythe, Phil Gosselin and T.J. Rivera on minor league deals. Walker and Gosselin won backup spots, but Walker struggled to a .231/.244/.308 slash through 18 games and 41 plate appearances prior to today’s move.
Obviously, Walker wasn’t a heavily used piece in Philadelphia, where top prospect Alec Bohm has impressed through his first 25 big league games at third base. With Jean Segura holding his own at second base and Rhys Hoskins raking at first, playing time has been hard to come by for Walker. The addition of Torreyes in his place will give the club another option to handle shortstop — one of the few positions that Walker has never played at the MLB level.
Although Walker didn’t hit much in his short time with Philly, he’s just a season removed from posting a solid .261/.344/.395 batting line in a utility role with the Marlins. And, of course, Walker was a consistently strong producer from 2010-17, when he hit a combined .273/.342/.439 in just shy of 4300 plate appearances between the Pirates, Mets and Brewers.
The 28-year-old Torreyes, meanwhile, will be reunited with former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi. Torreyes was a fan favorite with the Yanks from 2016-18 when he hit .281/.308/.374 through 221 games as an oft-used bench piece. He spent the 2019 season in the Twins organization but hit poorly in Triple-A and saw only a very brief look in the big leagues.