Don’t fix what isn’t broken
The Blue Jays were surprisingly aggressive at last year’s trade deadline and they made a couple additions in particular that likely made the difference in getting them to the playoffs. Arguably the best trade that Atkins made was acquiring Taijuan Walker from the Seattle Mariners, who promptly posted a 1.37 ERA over six starts for the Blue Jays. The audition couldn’t have gone a whole lot better.
Despite the fact that there seems to be an obvious fit here, a reunion has yet to come to fruition. To be fair, it’s hard to evaluate what Walker’s market could, or even should look like.
Previous to his strong return in 2020, the right-hander battled injuries and made just four starts between the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He posted a 3.49 ERA over 28 starts in 2017 as a 24-year-old, and the talent is there, it’s just tough to gauge what he’ll do going forward.
All that said, I feel like there’s a fair bit of upside here, and the marriage between the two parties worked very well for a short time in 2020. Walker has been active on social media throughout the offseason, and has spoken fondly of his time in Toronto. If Atkins and the front office are looking to add two starters before Opening Day, Walker would make for a tremendous fit as the #3 arm in the rotation. Even if they’re only going to bring in one more starter, they could certainly do worse than the 28-year-old.
Mlbtraderumors.com predicted back in November that Walker would receive a two-year deal for 16 million. If that’s all it takes for a reunion, the Blue Jays would be fools not to make it happen.