With the news that Hisashi Iwakuma will be out about 4-6 weeks due to a strained tendon, now comes news that highly touted Seattle Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker will be limited at the onset of spring training. Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News-Tribune tweets that Walker is experiencing “minor shoulder soreness”. Dutton notes that M’s skipper Lloyd McClendon relayed this information.
With the revamp the Mariners have experienced this offseason, the one area that received the least talk was that of the starting pitching. Easy to imagine why when you have Felix Hernandez, Iwakuma and Walker within the ranks, but this news cannot be what Mariners fans want to hear. The M’s may have to amp up talks with free agent pitchers Ervin Santana and/or Ubaldo Jimenez just to be on the safe side. GM Jack Zduriencik has previously stated that he would like to add more arms. Not sure he was wanting to go out and add another big money deal, but his hand may be forced.
As we sit, as provided by MLB Depth Charts, the M’s have a potential starting rotation of King Felix, Scott Baker, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez. Not as formidable without Iwakuma, that’s for sure. And shoulder issues can lead to bigger issues down the road if not properly addressed.
But Dutton adds a tweet that states the Mariners are not “overly concerned” regarding Walker’s situation. Only a session or two behind.
Walker made three starts for the Mariners last season compiling a 1-0 record, 3.60 ERA and 1.000 WHIP in three starts (15 IP). He is currently MLB Pipeline’s #6 overall prospect and the site’s #2 RHP prospect.