Walker elected free agency Monday after refusing an outright assignment to the Phillies' alternate training site. Walker will look to catch on with an organization after he went unclaimed off waivers following the Phillies' decision Friday to designate him for assignment. Before receiving his walking papers, Walker struggled to see the field for Philadelphia, appearing in .231/.244/.308. Given his lackluster production the past few years, his advancing age and his limited defensive flexibility, the 35-year-old Walker's time in the big leagues could be over.
Walker was designated for assignment by the Phillies on Friday. Walker reportedly contemplated retirement if he was unable to win a big-league job this spring, so it's possible this is the end of the line for the 12-year veteran, who hasn't produced an above-average batting line since 2017. He got very close last year, posting a 99 wRC+, but he owns a mark of 42 in that category this season in limited playing time, the product of a .231/.244/.308 slash line. Ronald Torreyes should fill the reserve infield role going forward after his contract was selected in a corresponding move.
Walker went 3-for-3 with two RBI on Wednesday as he played a key part in in a 3-0 win over the Nationals. Walker made just his third start since Aug. 13 and took advantage of the opportunity with his first multi-hit game of the season. The solid outing isn't likely to impact Walker's playing time, as he should continue to primarily be a bench option for the Phillies.
Walker will start at first base and will bat eighth Wednesday against the Nationals, Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. He'll step in as a replacement for Rhys Hoskins, who is presumably getting a maintenance day after starting in every game for the Phillies since Aug. 13. Walker also filled in for Hoskins that day, but in between, he made only one other start for Philadelphia (on Aug. 20). The veteran infielder is hitting .192 over 28 plate appearances this season, and he may have find himself on the chopping block when Scott Kingery (back) eventually returns from the 10-day injured list.
Walker will start at second base and bat seventh in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader against the Braves. Walker will be making his third start in four games at his third different position, this time covering second base in place of a resting Scott Kingery. Though his playing time has been on the rise lately, Walker's path to a full-time role looks like it will be locked so long as all members of the Phillies' regular infield (Rhys Hoskins, Kingery, Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius) are healthy.
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