The New York Mets announced recently that the team has signed right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker to a two-year contract with a player option for the 2023 season. In a corresponding move, right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard has been placed on the 60-Day Injured List.
Walker, 28, split the 2020 season between Seattle and Toronto. From August 27, the day he was acquired by the Blue Jays, through the end of the season, he led the AL and ranked second in the majors with a 1.37 ERA (four earned runs/26.1 innings). Overall in 2020, he pitched to a 2.70 ERA (16 earned runs/53.1 innings) with 19 walks and 50 strikeouts.
Right-handed hitters slashed .178/.252/.263 with six extra-base hits in 131 plate appearances vs. Walker during the 2020 season. His opponent slugging percentage vs. righties led the AL (min. 100 RHB faced), while his .515 OPS against right-handed batters ranked second in the league behind only Cy Young Award runner-up Kenta Maeda’s .484 mark. Walker has held righties to a .249/.308/.399 slashline during his eight-year major league career.
Walker was limited to four starts, totaling 14.0 innings, from 2018-2019. The first three of those outings came before he suffered a right elbow injury on April 14, 2018 that required “Tommy John” surgery, performed by Dr. David Altchek on April 25, 2018. The Shreveport, Louisiana native missed the remainder of the 2018 season and returned to the majors on the final day of the 2019 season to make a start in which he tossed 1.0 scoreless inning.
The 6-foot, 4-inch, 233-pound hurler has gone 35-34 with a 3.84 ERA (248 earned runs/581.2 innings) in 108 career appearances (105 starts) in parts of eight seasons with Seattle (2013-2016, 2020), Arizona (2017-2019) and Toronto (2020). He was the Mariners’ first-round selection (43rd overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
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