|Within the span of about three hours, the Nationals bid adieu to a pair of veterans on expiring contracts. Righthander Jason Marquis, the second of those veterans, packed his bags for Phoenix after being traded to the Diamondbacks straight up for low Class A shortstop/third baseman Zach Walters. After a lost year in 2010, Marquis reverted to his old, innings-eating self in Washington. He keeps the ball down and keeps his team in games most times out. Arizona assumes all of Marquis’ remaining salary, about $2.5 million, as it attempts to make up a four-game deficit to the Giants in the National League West.
Washington traded Jerry Hairston Jr. to the Brewers to acquire Double-A outfielder Erik Komatsu earlier in the day.
|Zach Walters, ss/3b
Age: 21. Position: SS (49 G), 3B (21 G), 2B (11 G).
Born: Sept. 5, 1989 in Cheyenne, Wyo.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 195. Bats: B. Throws: R.
School: San Diego.
Career Transactions: Selected by Diamondbacks in ninth round of 2010 draft; signed June 13, 2010.
Walters excelled in the short-season Northwest League after signing in 2010, helping to erase the sting of a poor junior year at San Diego. He does nothing flashy, but he’s having a strong full-season debut as a 21-year-old in the Midwest League. Walters ranks among the league leaders for hits (109, second), extra-base hits (42, fourth) and runs (69, second). The switch-hitter has hit righthanders hard this season, batting .313/.392/.549 with all nine of his homers in 246 at-bats from the left side, though evaluators like his swing from both sides and project him to hit for a solid average. His other tools project to be fringe-average, at best, at the major league level. Walters’ baserunning instincts trump his raw speed, and he might not have the range or arm strength to handle shortstop on a regular bases. However, if he can stay up the middle at second base, then his line-drive, gap power won’t be an issue. He has all the hallmarks of a future utility player.
|Jason Marquis, rhp
Age: 32. Remaining Commitment: Approximately $2.5 million ($7.5 million salary for 2011; eligible for free agency after the season).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.