Kansas City Royals: Taijuan Walker would be a perfect fit

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 02: Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker #99 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a warm up pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the MLB game at Chase Field on April 2, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 02: Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker #99 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a warm up pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the MLB game at Chase Field on April 2, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Kansas City Royals need help on their pitching staff. Former top prospect Taijuan Walker would be a perfect fit.

It is not a secret that the Kansas City Royals need help on their pitching staff. Regardless of the category, the Royals pitchers struggled, as they were 13th in the American League with a 5.20 ERA, and last in the AL with 1230 strikeouts. In an era where players swing and miss at elevated rates, the Royals were simply incapable of exploiting those issues.

And yet, the Royals have done nothing this offseason to alleviate those issues. The one move they made with their pitching staff was to bring back Jesse Hahn, signing him to a one year deal that could max out at $800,000. That’s it.

Yes, the Royals are rebuilding. And yes, the Royals were not expected to be active in free agency, especially with their recent change in ownership and the changes taking place. Yet, that does not mean they should be sitting out free agency entirely. There are plenty of intriguing players that could be a perfect fit for a rebuilding team.

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Taijuan Walker is one of those players. A former consensus top 20 prospect, Walker has shown flashes of his potential, but lost most of the past two seasons due to Tommy Joh surgery. He did come back in time to make one appearance with the Diamondbacks last year, striking out a batter and allowing a hit in his inning of work.

Walker would presumably be healthy for 2020 as he would nearly be two years away from the procedure. In his last healthy season in 2017, he posted a 3.49 ERA and a 1.328 WHiP, striking out 146 batters with 61 walks in 157.1 innings. Those numbers would either lead, or be second, amongst Royals starters last season.

At just 27 years old, Walker could still be a possible building block. Even though the Royals have quite the collection of pitching prospects on the horizon, it is not definite that all of them pan out. Walker, if he can return to his previous form, could be an intriguing option for Kansas City. And if they cannot work out a longer term deal, he could be a solid trade chip at the deadline.

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The Kansas City Royals need to improve their pitching staff. Taijuan Walker could be the type of piece they need.