3 perfect fits for the Mariners that are still free agents
Taijuan Walker was outstanding in 2020 for the Mariners and the Blue Jays, and despite his great performance, he is still available. Fangraphs lists Walker as their 22nd best free agent in this class and has him projected to sign a 2-year deal with an AAV of around $9 million. MLB Trade Rumors has him as their 23rd best free agent and signing for 2 years with an AAV of $8 million.
While this might be out of John Stanton’s budget for Jerry Diptoto based on how they have been spending so far, if it is within his budget it should be a no-brainer. It was clear that Walker was a fit in the clubhouse and he would be a fit in the rotation for the next two years as well, while we wait on some of the Mariners’ top pitching prospects to come up.
Walker had a 2.70 ERA in 11 starts last year for Seattle and Toronto, but his more advanced stats like his 4.56 FIP and 29th percentile xwOBA tell a different story and are probably the reason he is still on the board. However, his projected offer is relatively low-risk high reward, and even if Walker regresses towards the mean over the next two seasons the 28-year-old should still be a key middle of the rotation pitcher for the Mariners.