Yes. It is time to bring the young “Sky” Walker home. Taijuan Walker was not offered a contract by the Arizona Diamondbacks, making him a free agent and making way for a rarity in professional sports: a potential homecoming that actually makes sense for both sides.
For what must be the 20th time in this article, remember that the Mariners’ reputation for developing arms is one of the best in the game. Walker is still just 27-years-old with only 528 innings of wear and tear on his arm.
Walker has missed most of the past 2 seasons dealing with recovery from Tommy John surgery and a capsule strain in his right shoulder but was actually quite good for the Diamondbacks during his one healthy season with them.
In 2017, Walker posted a 3.49 ERA, a 4.04 FIP, with an 8.35 K/9 and a 3.49 BB/9. In addition, he also produced a 48% groundball rate, all on his way to a solid 2.5 fWAR season in 157 innings pitched.
Walker is still a good athlete with a 4 pitch mix. Once again, the Mariners need at least another starter to fill out their rotation (really 2 more) and Walker is familiar with the city and franchise. The key piece in the now-famous Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger acquisitions, Walker has a chance to return to Seattle.
The two sides are a good fit for each other. Seattle already signed an upside play coming off of Tommy John, so there willingness to double down is unknown. But if the Mariners are really looking for placeholders in the rotation with legitimate upside, offering Walker a Graveman like contract could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Plus, and I cannot stress this enough, Tai Walker is fun to watch. And in 2020, that could be a fun asset.
Well, there we have it. 5 names who make a lot of sense for the Mariners to consider. There are countless more out there, but these 5 instantly jumped out me. They are a good blend of probability to hit their upside while filling an important need for the 2020 big league club.
Other plays could make sense and there are now 57 more to choose from. But for now, these 5 should be the focus and hopefully, Dipoto doesn’t make us wait long to find out.