The Seattle Mariners added another possible lottery ticket to their rotation as they have brought Taijuan Walker back home.
Back on Monday, it was revealed that the Seattle Mariners had a standing offer to their one time pitcher Taijuan Walker. It was unknown as to how much that offer was for, or even if Walker was interested, given that he had a showcase lined up with the Cubs, and other teams in pursuit.
In the end, none of that mattered. Walker has come back home to the Pacific Northwest, signing a one year deal with the Mariners worth $2 million. He has a chance to make another $1 million in incentives.
A former consensus top 20 prospect from 2012 through 2014, Walker never quite lived up that the billing with the Mariners. He had two solid seasons in Seattle before being paired with Ketel Marte in one of Jerry Dipoto‘s numerous trades.
In that first year with the Diamondbacks, Walker appeared to be on the precipice of breaking out. While his 9-9 record was mediocre, he posted a 3.49 ERA and a 1.328 WHiP. In his 157.1 innings, he struck out 146 batters with 61 walks, a strong showing for a 24 year old.
That would be the high point of his time in the desert. Walker pitched a combined 14 innings over the next two seasons, as he underwent Tommy Joh surgery and strained a shoulder capsule Although he performed well when he was on the mound, the Diamondbacks decided to let Walker go, despite having one more year of team control.
Now, Walker is back where it all began. In Seattle, he has a realistic chance to be a part of the rotation. He is also another high upside signing for the Mariners, joining Kendall Graveman as an intriguing lottery ticket. If Walker can be the pitcher he had been in 2017, he also provides the Mariners with a potential trade chip at the deadline.
The Seattle Mariners have brought Taijuan Walker home. Maybe, just maybe, he is ready to be the pitcher everyone expected.