Looks like the Phillies have found some money in the mattresses after the Trea Turner deal and moved to the starting pitching market.
Source confirms reports: Phillies and Taijuan Walker agree to a four-year, $72 million deal.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) December 7, 2022
That’s a hefty hunk of change for Walker, but it’s not a total overpay.
As mentioned yesterday, pitchers and position players without the qualifying offer attached to them are going to be in high demand. Perhaps even more so for a team like the Phillies, who have already signed Turner and have lost their 2nd and 5th round draft picks. Signing someone like Carlos Rodon would’ve cost them even more. At some point, you have to think of the farm system and the ways to replenish it.
Walker, as he is now, is perfectly fine as a starter. Is he a #2 or even a #3 starter? Probably not, but that’s not what the team is looking for. They want someone they can hand the ball to 27-30 times a year and be reasonably assured they’ll get an above average start. Will he throw in a stinker? Sure. Is he healthy? Well...
The health is the thing with Walker. Having Tommy John and shoulder surgeries in his past will make anyone skittish, but he’s been decent lately, throwing more than 155 innings the past two seasons. If he can repeat his 2021 or 2022, the team should be reasonable satisfied.
We’ll have more on this deal as the days go on.