5:10pm: The Mariners have announced Walker’s return to Seattle. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Austin L. Adams was placed on the 60-day injured list. The 28-year-old Adams — not to be confused with Austin D. Adams, who signed a minor league deal with the Twins earlier this winter — underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL last October.
12:59pm: It’s a one-year, $2MM deal, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). The pact also comes with another $1MM available in incentive money.
12:42pm: All indications are that the Mariners have or soon will reach an agreement to bring back former hurler Taijuan Walker. The free agent was spotted in Seattle’s camp and has since posted a rather suggestive tweet about his next destination.
Previous indication was that the M’s had a standing MLB offer out to Walker. Other clubs were also in pursuit; he had recently put on a showcase for the Cubs, for instance. As it turns out, the 27-year-old will return to where he got his start. The Mariners chose him with the 43rd overall pick of the 2010 draft and called him up to the majors for the first time in 2013. Walker never quite came into his own in Seattle but did have two productive campaigns. He ended up being dealt away — one of many players spun off in recent seasons by GM Jerry Dipoto.
The Diamondbacks got some good work from Walker, including 157 1/3 innings of 3.49 ERA ball in 2017, before losing him to Tommy John surgery. A year later, his rehab from said operation was slowed by a strained shoulder capsule that ultimately wiped out nearly all of his 2019 campaign. Although Walker made it back to the MLB mound late in 2019, the Snakes decided it wasn’t worth the investment of one more arbitration-eligible season to bring him back.
Health permitting, it seems that Walker will now slide into the fifth spot of a Seattle rotation that’ll also include Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield and fellow offseason pickup/Tommy John returnee Kendall Graveman. There’s a good deal of upside in the second through fifth slots in the rotation behind the quietly solid Gonzales, but the Seattle rotation is also rife with uncertainty.
Depth options such as Justin Dunn, Erik Swanson, Nick Margevicius and Nestor Cortes Jr. could all get some run in 2020, be it do to injuries within the big league staff or merely poor performance. Non-roster options who could head to Triple-A if they don’t break camp with the club include veteran Wei-Yin Chen and former top prospect Manny Banuelos, each of whom signed minor league deals this winter.