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Mets: Five under the radar pitching free agent candidates to consider

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Keone Kela #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after a 9-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 24, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Keone Kela #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after a 9-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 24, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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Mets
Sep 20, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (00) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Taijuan Walker

As discussed more in-depth by a colleague of mine in this article here, Taijuan Walker is a pitcher who has bounced around the Major Leagues in his brief career but has shown more recently that when healthy, he has good enough stuff to produce high quality starts in spurts for teams that pick him up. In his three full seasons with Seattle, Walker had a K/BB ratio of 3.26 however didn’t really live up to his hype. In his subsequent seasons with the Diamondbacks, he was on the IL most of the time but managed to pitch decently in 2017, posting a respectable 3.49 ERA in 28 Major League starts.

Walker changed his pitching approach in 2020 however, going more to his splitter and curveball pitches and less to his four-seam fastball. This helped him decrease his WHIP and slightly increased his strikeout rate per nine innings while with Toronto and Seattle. Similarly to Mike Leake, I think Walker can come in and serve as a back up rotational starter for the Mets in 2021.

In spurts, he has shown that he can provide some quality starts and add one WAR to whatever team he pitches for. Of course, the injury bug hitting him is always a concern, but if limited to 13 to 15 fill in spot starts next season, Walker can certainly add some quality depth to an already strong Mets rotation.

Next. Best free agent SPs in Mets history

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Those are some of the lesser hyped arms for our beloved owner to consider to kick things off right and put together a more well-rounded team come next year. We all know that even though it’s the household stars that carry our team for the majority of season, sometimes it’s the outlier guys that end up coming up with the biggest performances in the most crucial situations to launch a team to its ultimate goal. Let’s hope the Mets can bag a few of those types of players and put together an exciting 2021 for all of us fans.

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