Having been spurned at the last moment by Trevor Bauer, the New York Mets have finally signed another starting pitcher to round out their rotation.
He’s not quite Bauer, but he certainly comes with the pedigree and upside:
The Mets have a deal with taijuan Walker, sources tell SNY.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) February 19, 2021
Walker, still only 28, was a tip-top prospect with the Mariners, where he never quite showed it in the big leagues. After a trade to the Diamondbacks, he started to flash the guy folks long thought he could be, and then he got hurt. Doubly hurt: Tommy John surgery AND a shoulder injury. That cost him virtually all of 2018 and 2019, and then he had only the partial 2020 season to show folks he was over the injury issues (good results, meh peripherals).
That is all to say, he could wind up really good for the Mets! Or he could wind up unable to really put it together after the injuries. We’ll see. For now, he joins a loaded Mets rotation fronted by Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman and Carlos Carrasco, with David Peterson, Jordan Yamamoto, and Joey Lucchesi as depth until Noah Syndergaard is ready to debut after last year’s Tommy John surgery.
Overall, the Mets do look pretty dang good on paper at this point, even in the highly-competitive NL East. I’d say there are big questions about how the defense will perform behind that pitching staff (outside of Francisco Lindor at shortstop), but the offense is stacked, and the rotation looks fantastic.
Joel Sherman subsequently reports that Walker is getting two years and $20 million, with a player option for a third year. The deal sets up Jake Odorizzi, the clear top pitcher left on the market, to get a bit more – he’d reportedly been seeking about three years and $45 million. Last we heard, he was attached to the Cardinals, which makes a lot of sense …