Mariners righty Taijuan Walker is headed for a medical consultation to determine whether he ought to undergo surgery on his troublesome right foot, as MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. The 24-year-old has suffered with arch tendinitis, and may go in for a procedure to help address the problem over the offseason. Rest is the alternative, but a decision must be made soon. Walker says that the specialist he spoke with previously told him “it would be anywhere from a three- to four-month recovery to be ready to pitch.” Walker had a roller-coaster campaign — manager Scott Servais says he was “all over the board” with hot and cold stretches — but ultimately ended with a 4.22 ERA over 134 1/3 innings, with 8.0 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9. Seattle will hope that Walker can put the foot issue behind him and fully realize his talent in 2017.
Here’s more from out west:
- Among the Athletics’ many needs, the outfield stands at the top of the list, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Outside of Khris Davis, there’s little in the way of sure things. “No question center fielder is a concern short term and long term,” said president of baseball operations Billy Beane. “Until we discover a long-term option, we may be strategic in how we fill that temporarily.” Slusser notes that the club could end up pursuing a bounceback player, suggesting Carlos Gomez as one possible solution.
- The Angels also ended 2016 buried in the AL West, but the team is still exuding optimism about the season to come, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. “I don’t think we’re that far off,” says manager Mike Scioscia. “I know that we’re all going to work very hard this winter not only to put together a team but get it ready and play well in the spring and have some different conversations this time next year.”
- One key for the Angels, of course, is righty Garrett Richards. Per Fletcher, he is up to 97 mph as he continues to try to battle through UCL issues rather than succumbing to Tommy John surgery. He is slated for two more instructional league appearances before undergoing a final medical exam. If all goes well, the club will pencil him in for next season. “If you talk about having a top-of-the-rotation starter vs. not having a top-of-the-rotation starter, that would be a sizable difference for any club,” Eppler said.
- Regardless, the Angels figure to chase pitching, per Eppler (also via Fletcher). And the Halos have several holes to fill on the position-player side. Still, the GM says he won’t head into the winter just looking to tick through the team’s needs. “I don’t really walk in with a grocery list and say ’This is what we need,’ because then you end up forcing a shot,” says Eppler. “To use a basketball reference, I don’t want to force the shot. If the shot is there and the circumstances are right, take it.”