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NY Mets: Handing out some 2021 midseason player awards

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 7: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets smiles walking to the dugout in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during game one of a doubleheader at Citi Field on July 7, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets won 4-3. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 7: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets smiles walking to the dugout in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during game one of a doubleheader at Citi Field on July 7, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets won 4-3. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY – JULY 03: Taijuan Walker #99 of the New York Mets during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 3, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 03: Taijuan Walker #99 of the New York Mets during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 3, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Best Addition – SP Taijuan Walker

During free agency, the Mets needed to add starting pitching. However, it seemed for a stretch the team might land 2020 Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer. Instead, he went to the Dodgers, as the Mets eventually turned to Taijuan Walker.

New York brought in Walker on a two-year deal with a player option for 2023. It solidified Walker as a likely starter for his stay at Citi Field, though nobody could have predicted what has happened since.

Walker has been a solid starting pitching throughout his career, though injuries have held him back. Then, in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, he made 11 starts, pitching for a 2.70ERA.

The Mets took a chance on Walker, hoping he could at the very least be the career sub-4.00ERA pitcher he is to fill out the back of the rotation. But Walker had a different plan.

He wanted to have a career year.

In the first half, Walker owns a 7-3 record and a career-best 2.50ERA at the break. He is striking batters out at an 8.9 mark per nine innings and has given up two runs or fewer in 12 of his 16 starts. In other words, it is easy to understand why Walker was selected for the All-Star game.

Without Walker, who knows where the Mets may be entering the break. He has formed a formidable trio at the top of the rotation with Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman, as they have carried the starting staff all season.

The Mets were the lone team to offer Walker a deal this off-season. Had they not taken a chance on the righty, the Mets season outlook would be very different.

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