Another potential starting rotation candidate is now off the market and it is time for the Mariners to get a deal done with Taijuan Walker.
With the start of spring training inching closer, the free-agent market has had some movement in the past week as teams try to round out their rosters and players want to know where they will be headed next month. The Mariners are clearly looking for another candidate or two to round out their starting rotation, but the pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer by the day.
With news coming out that Drew Smyly has signed with the Giants, that brings the total to three (Jimmy Nelson and Alex Wood being the others) potential starting pitchers that would fit the Mariners agenda (age, bounce candidate, trade bait at the deadline) that have now left the market.
Combine that with the fact Mariners beat writer Ryan Divish mentioned in a podcast that the Mariners haven’t had conversations with Walker since the Winter Meetings and the options are starting to look bleak for the Mariners.
While many fans have been clamoring for Walker’s return since he was designated for assignment, two weeks ago there were plenty of options on the market still so the Mariners had time to be patient.
Two weeks ago Walker might not have been the best fit for the team, but now?
They don’t have time to be patient anymore. It’s been covered at length on this site and many others, but Walker presents a strong low risk/high reward signing. He’s young enough to build around if needed or could be flipped at the deadline with a strong first half.
One thing that could really ruin this rebuild is rushing prospects to the Majors before they are ready. I don’t want to see Justin Dunn in the rotation on Opening Day just because there aren’t any other options. If he wins a job, that’s fantastic, but if the organization deems him to need more time in the minors they need to have someone capable of filling in.
Right now the top remaining candidate is Walker. Money is not an issue. It’s time to pick up the phone and get a deal done. Bring Taijuan Walker home!