Could Zach Walters be the Next Great Trade Acquisition?
During yesterday afternoon’s dramatic 3-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, newly acquired super-utility man Zach Walters played the role of hero. His walk-off, solo home run in the bottom of the ninth properly introduced him to Indians fans while also providing a bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, they will be on the better end of the Asdrubal Cabrera trade in the long run.
Admittedly, we are working with an extremely small sample size here. With slightly more than 10 plate appearances to his name as a member of the Cleveland Indians, it’s hard to say whether or not Walters ultimately has what it takes to last at the big league level. By all accounts, the odds appear to be in his favor. But then again, how many prospects have we said that about over the years?
So what exactly is my point here? Well, maybe there isn’t one to be made. I don’t know. No amount of statistical analysis can begin to tell us anything about what the Indians have here. All we can really go from is the old-fashioned eye test (that sound you just heard was the sound of every disciple of the sabermetric movement’s butt hole pucker tighten), but even then it’s hard to say anything of relevance.
What we can gather from watching Zach Walters over the past few games is that he isn’t short on confidence. He’s got moxy, gumption, or any other slang term from the 1920′s you’d like to insert here. The way he carries himself and the way he goes about things screams, “Hey, I’m a professional!” That’s huge. This is a young player coming to a new team in the middle of the season, coming to a team that still has playoff aspirations.
He’s also never seen a pitch he didn’t like. Does this guy ever take a pitch?
It would be easy for Walters to wilt under those circumstances. To his credit, and maybe even more to the credit of Terry Francona and the environment he has helped cultivate, that doesn’t appear to be the case. In fact, the same could be said about many of the players that have made their way into the Indians regular lineup over the past month to a month and a half – Chris Dickerson, Tyler Holt, T.J. House, Roberto Perez, and on and on it goes. All have fit in with the type of grace and aplomb you expect from veterans and not young players looking to make a name for themselves.
But back to Walters.
Initially, I was down on his acquisition. Trading a shortstop straight up for a shortstop made no sense. Why not acquire a pitcher or a player in another area of need? That, folks, is why I am not in a front office somewhere. As my fellow staff member Evan Vogel so elegantly pointed out, there is a lot to like about Walters – his versatility, his power, his overall ability to hit. As the glowing reviews of Walters continued to pour in, the more OK I ultimately became with it.
Now the legend of Zach Walters has officially begun. A walk off home run, the aforementioned swagger, and boy band like appearance could make him a star in Cleveland. Think Grady Sizemore 2.0, especially if he continues to man the outfield in front of the bleacher bums, or more accurately the bleacher bummettes.
However this all plays out, and again it is way too early to tell, Walters could become the latest in the long line of trades that the Indians have where we all sit back and think to ourselves “How did they pull that off?” four or five years after the fact.
In the meantime, let’s just enjoy the moment that took place on Wednesday afternoon as Walters won the game for the Tribeand entered his name in the Indians’ history books.