The New York Mets have agreed to a contract with right-handed starter Taijuan Walker. The deal is for two years and $20 million, with a player option attached, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. CBS Sports HQ insider Jim Bowden has confirmed the details.
Walker entered the offseason ranked by CBS Sports as the 28th best free agent. Here’s what we wrote at the time:
Walker missed almost the entirety of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, meaning his 11-game stint this past season (split between Seattle and Buffalo, uh … Toronto) represented his first real opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of his reworked arm action. He made the most of the chance, averaging five innings per pop while accumulating a 2.70 ERA and a 2.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Walker’s fastball clocked in around 93 mph and remained his best bat-missing weapon, as it evaded lumber 23 percent of the time — or, for comparison’s sake, about as frequently as the heaters thrown by Tyler Glasnow, Max Fried, and Mike Clevinger. He doesn’t have another big-time bat misser in his arsenal, but he does have the willingness to throw most of his other pitches, especially his splitter and curve, to lefties and righties alike. While that doesn’t sound like much, it does give him the ability to show each individual batter three or four looks. Provided he stays healthy, he should slot in as someone’s fourth starter.
Walker, 28, will come into the season with a career 3.84 ERA (108 ERA+) and 2.87 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 108 appearances (all but three of them starts). He’s spent time with the Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Seattle Mariners.
Walker is the latest addition to the Mets’ remade rotation. Since the start of the offseason, they’ve re-signed Marcus Stroman; traded for Carlos Carrasco and Joey Lucchesi; and added depth pieces like Jordan Yamamoto and Sean Reid-Foley. Those moves bolster a group that already includes Jacob deGrom and David Peterson. Noah Syndergaard, recovering from Tommy John surgery, should rejoin the starting five in-season.
Elsewhere, the Mets have acquired shortstop Francisco Lindor and have inked catcher James McCann. More recently, they’ve addressed their outfield balance by signing both Albert Almora Jr. and Kevin Pillar. The Mets also signed Jonathan Villar to serve as a reserve infielder.