Taijuan Walker is set to make his return from the 10-day injured list, as the righty is the Mets’ scheduled starter tonight against the Phillies. In advance of Walker’s activation, righty Yoan Lopez was optioned to Triple-A to create an open spot on the active roster.
Walker only tossed two innings in his first start of the season (on April 11) before leaving the game with shoulder inflammation. The injury was later diagnosed as right shoulder bursitis, as Walker was placed on the IL the next day. Fortunately, the issue wasn’t serious enough for Walker to miss too much time, which is a particular relief in Walker’s case given how he also battled some shoulder problems in 2019 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
2022 is a big season for Walker, who can enter free agency this winter if (as expected) he declines his $6MM player option with the Mets for the 2023 season. Walker will receive a $3MM buyout if he does opt out, so for the sake of an extra $3MM, it is exceedingly likely that he’ll return to the open market in search of a much pricier multi-year deal. Walker had a roller-coaster of a 2021 season, as his excellent first half earned him his first career All-Star appearance, but he posted an ugly 7.13 ERA in 64 1/3 innings after the Midsummer Classic.
Walker returns to a red-hot Mets team that has been getting great production from its entire rotation. Getting Walker back in the mix is the proverbial nice problem to have for the Amazins, and the rotation will be further bolstered later this season whenever Jacob deGrom is able to return from the injured list.