A closer look at Taijuan Walker, who is rejoining Mariners’ rotation
The Mariners are bringing back a familiar face in right-handed starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, who will likely be back in Seattle’s starting rotation when opening day rolls around.
Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Walker, 27, is signing a one-year deal worth $2 million. He can earn up to $3 million total with incentives. The team officially announced the signing Wednesday afternoon.
There had been rumors of a possible Walker-Mariners reunion during the offseason, and he was assumed a likely candidate to be signed by Seattle after general manager Jerry Dipoto said that the team was looking to sign at least one more starting pitcher in free agency.
Walker had a workout in front of roughly 20 MLB teams recently, and was in the Mariners’ spring training clubhouse on Wednesday, per 710 ESPN Seattle’s Shannon Drayer. Pitchers and catchers reported for spring training Wednesday.
Taijuan Walker is here with the Mariners, not yet officially signed but it sounds like that will happen soon. M's have seen him throw a couple of bullpens in the last 10 days.
— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) February 12, 2020
Soon after word got out that Walker was visiting with Seattle, he sent out a tweet with a picture of him from his initial Mariners tenure, signaling his return to Seattle.
Drayer covered Walker’s signing in this story. Here, we’re going to take a closer look at Walker and give a refresher on who the newest Mariners addition is.
RHP Taijuan Walker
• Was a first-round draft pick out of high school in 2010. The Mariners selected the right-hander with the 43rd overall pick.
• Was one of the team’s top prospects and a fixture in top-100 prospect rankings until he lost his prospect status due to throwing enough major league innings.
• Made his major league debut in 2013 at just 20 years old.
• From 2013 to 2016 while with the Mariners, Walker went 22-22 with a 4.18 ERA in 357 innings. He had 322 strikeouts and walked 99.
• Was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with shortstop Ketel Marte for shortstop Jean Segura and outfielder Mitch Haniger.
• Went 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 157.1 innings in 28 starts in 2017.
• Threw just 13 innings in 2018 before undergoing Tommy John Surgery.
• Missed of 2019, appearing in just one game in September, where he threw 1 scoreless inning.
• Was non-tendered by Arizona in December.
• Walker now joins a Mariners rotation that will likely feature Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield and Kendall Graveman when opening day rolls around. The team also has prospects Justin Dunn and Logan Gilbert who will be trying to earn big league playing time in 2020.