3. Taijuan Walker
It’s not that we don’t like Jameson Taillon, but the Yankees decided to go after two lottery tickets in the former Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander and Corey Kluber. Both of those guys had hardly pitched since 2019 and dealt with some troubling injuries … ones we don’t need to get into yet again.
Taijuan Walker was out there for the taking, and though he isn’t exactly a guy who will change the complexion of your rotation, he provides valuable depth. You can call us out here, though. Walker’s dealt with injury issues of his own. He’s never made 30 starts in a season and heading into 2021 he had made just 15 starts since the beginning of 2018.
But everyone’s seen what he’s capable of when he’s fully healthy. And he’s reminding MLB of that this season with the Mets. He’s 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in nine starts (totaling 49 innings). He’s allowed just one home run on the year. That’s way better than Taillon’s 5.10 ERA on the season.
As for his contract, it’s not bad at all! He signed a two-year, $20 million deal ($3 million of which is a buyout), which could end up being three years for $23 million if he exercises his player option in 2023. Between Kluber and Taillon, the Yankees are paying those two $13.25 million this year. If they wanted another quality arm to cope with potential injuries and/or roll with a six-man rotation, they could’ve given Walker the money he wanted and just paid less in 2021 and more in 2022/2023.
Wouldn’t that be better than bussing Deivi Garcia and Michael King back and forth from Triple-A or bouncing them from the bullpen and rotation?