In a futile attempt at shoring up the starting rotation, the Toronto Blue Jays should roll the dice on pitcher Taijuan Walker this offseason.
The Blue Jays have been the bridesmaid for the majority of their free-agent player courting thus far, although they did land veteran Tanner Roark on a two-year pact. With each passing day more and more pitchers fall off the board and it appears less likely the brain trust will shore up their rotation via free agency.
However, in saying that Taijuan Walker could be a nifty buy-low candidate as the 27-year old looks to put a couple of injury-riddled seasons behind him. Walker missed nearly the entire 2019 campaign due to Tommy John surgery albeit for the scoreless inning he tossed on the final day of the season.
The right-hander has thrown just 14 combined innings over the past two years but did have a successful season in 2017 going 9-9 with a 3.49 earned run average while striking out 8.4 per nine innings and accumulating a 2.6 WAR.
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The Diamondbacks non-tendered Walker earlier this offseason, however, the Jays should make an attractive incentive-laden multi-year offer to the hurler. When healthy, Walker has the pedigree to be a mid of the rotation starter and probably a number two on the Jays current staff.
The Jays need starting pitching depth and even though he is somewhat of a gamble, Walker definitely is a risk worth taking for a team attempting to catch lightning in a bottle with reclamation projects.
Initially, MLB Trade Rumors had projected that Walker would earn $5.025 million in 2002 through the arbitration process. Who knows a two-year, $10 million dollar offer with bonus clauses for innings pitched could be enough to lure Walker north of the border.
The former first-rounder is undoubtedly an injury risk but one that is talented enough to afford the inherent risk.