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Mets choice to sign Taijuan Walker over Jake Odorizzi is an early win

Apr 25, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 25, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Now with four starts in the books, Taijuan Walker is 1-1 with the New York Mets. He owns a 2.14 ERA as well following his win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

Walker was one of the last major additions the Mets made this winter. It almost didn’t happen either. Straight from another source, prior to signing Walker, New York had their eye on a different pitcher.

The Mets almost went with Jake Odorizzi over Taijuan Walker

One fallout from the many changes in the general manager chair this offseason was the focus on different free agents. At one point, Jake Odorizzi was a target of Sandy Alderson. As it turns out, the Mets may have dodged a massive bullet. Odorizzi eventually did sign with the Houston Astros but in three starts with them, he has gone 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA.

To make matters worse for the near-Met, he’s battling some injuries, too.

Things are going much better in New York with Walker. As wild as he has been at times, Walker is looking like a free agent bargain.

Taijuan Walker has been better than expected for the Mets

Signed to a two-year deal worth $20 million, Walker is getting paid well but not near the level as some other big league starters. I’m not quite sure why there was such hesitation this winter for teams to sign him. He has proven he’s healthy and is coming off of a fine year in 2020.

After missing out on Trevor Bauer, the Mets turned to Walker for help. He was signed to be their fourth starter to begin the year with only David Peterson slotted in behind him.

So far, we have seen much better than fourth starter performances. He’s keeping up with what Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman are doing early on. The Mets don’t just have a one-two punch in the rotation. There’s a right uppercut at the end of the combination and his name is Taijuan Walker.

The Mets had a very good offseason with free agent pitchers

Walker isn’t the lone free agent pitcher the Mets brought to town this winter. We have to tip our caps to Trevor May and Aaron Loup.

Through 5.1 innings, May is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA. He had a shaky debut for the team but has since settled in as one of the obvious choices to set up the game for Edwin Diaz. He has 8 strikeouts already, showing his high K-conversation rate.

We’ve seen less of the lefty Loup. In 3.1 innings across four appearances, he has yet to allow an earned run to score. I’m a little surprised we haven’t seen him a little more. The opportunities just haven’t been there and other guys—namely Miguel Castro—have been pitching well enough for the Mets to give Loup the night off.

Next. Young starters the Mets bullpen could use this season

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There was reason to question a few of the signings the front office made this winter and their failure to sign a few others. So far, only a little more than 10% into the season, things are looking good.

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