Mets Should Pursue Free Agent Pitcher Taijuan Walker

Mets Pitcher

Mets Should Pursue Free Agent Pitcher Taijuan Walker

While the New York Mets are pursuing top tier free agents this winter, there is one under the radar pitcher they should look at. Taijuan Walker started 11 games in 2020 and had a 4-3 record with a 2.70 ERA, he also had a 1.163 WHIP. Just three games into the 2018 season, Walker injured his arm. As a result of the injury, Walker would have Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the 2018 season. Walker came back and pitched in the last game of the 2019 season. The Arizona Diamondbacks waived him following the 2019 season and the Seattle Mariners signed their one-time top prospect for the 2020 season.

Walker’s best year of his career came in 2017, right before he got hurt. He put up a 3.49 ERA in 28 games, with a 1.328 WHIP. In 2020, Walker was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and pitched well in a playoff chase. He’s only 28 years old and seems to be bouncing back strong from Tommy John surgery.

Mets Starting Rotation

The Mets starting rotation has three pitchers who will be in the rotation, barring no injuries. Those pitchers include Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and David Peterson. Noah Syndergaard, who has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, will return at some point during the season but the timetable is unclear as of right now. That leaves two more spots that need to be filled. With Steven Matz signing a one year deal earlier this month, it seems like he could be used in the rotation in some capacity. That leaves Seth Lugo as the fifth man in the rotation. Lugo has proved that he’s a valuable asset in the bullpen. He’s been with the Mets since 2016, and he’s been one of the few reliable bullpen arms. However, he doesn’t have much success as a starter. 2020 was the worst year of his career, and he started seven games in a 60 game season. He had a 5.15 ERA with a 3-4 record. If that’s not a large enough sample size, he started 18 games in 2017 and put up a 4.71 ERA.

The Right Pitcher for the Mets

Given the fact that there is still a spot in the rotation that’s up for grabs, Walker is just one of many free agents for that spot. The top free-agent pitchers are in their 30s and will want large salaries. Mets fans don’t want money to be an issue given the new ownership, but even new owner Steve Cohen said the team won’t spend like drunken sailors. If they spend a little less money on the rotation, it leaves more room for the team to sign bigger free agents that the fanbase is excited for.

Taijuan Walker isn’t a perfect pitcher by any means. He has been unreliable in recent years due to injuries. His stats are also unreliable with the small sample size. However, the pros do outweigh the cons. If he doesn’t work out, the Mets will have Syndergaard coming back sometime during the season. If he does, they may have found a reliable starter in a rotation that has been unreliable in recent years.

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