According to Robert Murray of FanSided, the Toronto Blue Jays have shown recent interest in Taijuan Walker while keeping in contact with the free agent all offseason. The Jays are in desperate need of another starting pitching and Walker would definitely improve the staff.
The 28-year old was acquired by Toronto from the Mariners at the end of August last season in exchange for Alberto Rodriguez. The right-hander impressed in his six starts with the Blue Jays posting a 2-1 record with a 1.37 earned run average while fanning 25 in just 26.1 innings of work. Walker made a combined 11 starts in 2020 posting a 2.70 earned run average with a 0.9 WAR.
The oft-injured Waker really turned a corner last season and is undoubtedly seeking a raise from the modest $2 million he earned in 2020. According to Murray, it appears the length of the proposed contract is currently a sticking point with both sides.
Although a deal is reportedly not close, the brain trust need to land one of either Walker, James Paxton or Jake Odorizzi in the coming days to shore up the rotation. All three hurlers remain unsigned, however, we have heard in recent days that Paxton is seeking a deal in excess of $11 million per season.
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As it currently stands, Toronto has a plethora of bottom of the rotation starters occupying spots in the starting five. With the exception of Nate Pearson who is somewhat of a wild card, there is a drastic decline following Hyun Jin Ryu in the rotation.
The likes of Tanner Roark, Steven Matz, Robbie Ray, Ross Stripling and Anthony Kay will all be competing for spots in the rotation this spring. The addition of Walker would be a drastic upgrade and go a long to solidifying the rotation.
In eight MLB seasons with the Mariners, Diamondbacks and Jays, Walker owns a 3.84 earned run average with 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings and a 6.8 WAR in 108 career games.
I would be more than willing to go three years on Walker and somewhere in the 3-year/ $30 million neighborhood. There is definitely some unearthed potential there if he can finally remain healthy for an extended stretch.