Former Diamondback Taijuan Walker returning to Seattle Mariners
Normally when signing with a new team, players need photoshop to see themselves in the new jersey.
Not Taijuan Walker. The former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher tweeted a photo of himself in a Seattle Mariners jersey Wednesday afternoon. About 20 minutes later, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Walker had signed a one-year deal with his original MLB team.
After being drafted by the Mariners in 2010 and pitching for the major league team in parts of 2013 and ’14 and all of 2015-16, Walker was traded to the D-backs in the deal that netted Arizona Ketel Marte.
Walker had a 3.49 ERA in 28 starts for Arizona in 2017, but three games into the 2018 season, he suffered an injury and had Tommy John surgery.
He didn’t return until late 2019, pitching one inning against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 29. He allowed one hit and struck out a batter.
Arizona non-tendered Walker on Dec. 2. Even at the time, prior to signing Madison Bumgarner, the D-backs had at least four pitchers set to compete for rotation spots in addition to Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver, Mike Leake and Zac Gallen.
Walker is headed back to Seattle on a deal for $2 million, according to Passan. He can earn another million based on incentives.
In Walker’s first stint with the Mariners, he had a 4.18 ERA in 65 appearances, 62 of which were starts. Over his two full seasons he averaged 152 innings pitched and 138 strikeouts.
At one point, Walker was considered a top-10 prospect. MLB ranked him as high as No. 5 in 2013.
The Mariners are hoping he can overcome injury and rediscover the form that made him a coveted minor leaguer.