The Padres attempted to fill their hole at third base and hold on to first place in the National League West on Monday, adding Todd Walker from the Cubs in exchange for Rookie ball righthander Jose Ceda.
Walker, 33, has split time between first and second base this season, batting .277/.352/.390 with six homers and 40 RBIs in 94 games. The Padres will see if he can handle their third-base job, currently being shared by Mark Bellhorn and Geoff Blum after Vinny Castilla was cut loose a couple of weeks ago. Walker has played just 60 games at third in the majors and isn’t a good defender at any position. The Twins attempted to move him to third as he was coming through their farm system but eventually moved him back to second because his glove didn’t measure up at the hot corner. He continues to hit for average and gap power, so his bat should help the Padres. Walker is making $2.5 million in the final season of a two-year, $5 million contract and will become a free agent afterward. He’s a career .289/.348/.437 hitter with 104 homers and 528 RBIs in 1,226 games.
Ceda, 19, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2004. He has been clocked up to 96 mph this summer in the Rookie-level Arizona League, and he regularly pitches at 90-91 but doesn’t show much feel for his secondary stuff at this point. He’s 6-foot-4 with a big body and may need to watch his weight as he matures. He went 2-0, 5.09 for the AZL Padres, with a 31-13 K-BB ratio in 23 innings. Opponents were hitting .235 with one homer against him. At this point he’s a one-pitch pitcher with mechanical issues, but as a teenager with a big arm he has potential.