MLB Rumors: 3 Potential Landing Spots For Taijuan Walker

Taijuan Walker hasn't been the ace, or the No. 2 of any staff he's been on. Maybe not even the No. 3. But he serves an important depth role for any team's rotation, as he's done with the New York Mets for the last two seasons. He's posted a 3.98 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in his two seasons in Queens, with 7.9 K/9.

He'll enter free agency this winter as a nice mid-tier option in the starting pitcher market, but with an All-Star selection under his belt (2021) and showing fairly decent reliability as a nice innings-eater, he'll have some suitors. 

The Mets have a number of players to make decisions on, including three from their starting rotation. Will they try to bring Walker back? That's one of the questions we attempt to answer as we look at three potential landing spots for the 29-year-old this winter. 

1. Texas Rangers

Walker changed agents this season to go with Scott Boras. Just before free agency last year, second baseman Marcus Semien switched agents to go with Boras. Not too long after that, Boras struck a deal with the Rangers for Semien on a huge $175M contract. The next day, Boras worked out another huge deal with Texas for another of his clients, Corey Seager ($325M).

It's not a stretch to say that Boras and the Rangers like to do business together. And it's also true to state the Rangers are in desperate need of starting pitching, and they've made it a goal of their offseason to spend money to address it. Sounds like a possible match waiting to happen.

2. Toronto Blue Jays

Walker spent part of the shortened 2020 season with the Jays, and in his six starts there, more than showed his worth. All Walker did with Toronto was post a 1.37 ERA with a 25:11 K/BB ratio and a 1.25 WHIP.  Throughout the 2021 season, he was seen around the Jays as "the one that got away." The Jays are in need of a No. 4 for their rotation, with the likely exit of their own free agent Ross Stripling (whose asking price might be out of their range). 

It's quite likely that GM Ross Atkins could look to correct the mistake of letting Walker go in the first place, and try to re-acquire him for 2023. 

3. New York Mets

The Mets have Jacob deGrom and Chris Bassitt—two of their top three starters—also entering free agency, and they can ill afford to lose all three. It's likely that they'll make an attempt to retain Walker.

Their first option would be to consider extending the one-year, $19.65M qualifying offer to Walker. It would be an overpay for one year, but if he turns it down looking for a longer-term deal, they'd at least assure themselves of draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. 

Other teams in desperate need of starting pitching help include the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins, while teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox are looking for one good mid-rotation arm, and also might come calling. 

Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports