The New York Mets signed Taijuan Walker to a three-year $23 million dollar deal before the 2021 season. The third year of that deal was a player option. Walker has completed the two guaranteed years and has a $6 million dollar option on his hands. He will likely decline it and test free agency.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post put together a list of the top 30 free agents and had experts predict where these free agents would land and what their contracts would look like.
The Mets have six free agents on this list (seven if you want to include Michael Conforto). Obviously, guys like Jacob deGrom and Edwin Diaz are the most notable, but Taijuan Walker is expected to get a pretty big payday as well.
The Mets shouldn't consider bringing Taijuan Walker back if he gets what's projected in this article.
Heyman and his experts project Walker will get a five-year $70 million dollar deal. That's $14 million dollars annually for five years. Walker is 30 so that deal will take him through his age-35 season.
I think the deal the Mets signed Walker to worked out for both sides. He was able to show teams that he could stay healthy and had two decent years. The problem with Walker is his performance declined exponentially in the second half of both seasons.
In 2021, Walker was an all-star after posting a 2.66 first-half ERA. His second half was a different story as he posted a 7.13 ERA in 13 starts. He allowed 20 home runs in the second half alone and was just a complete shell of himself.
The difference in 2022 wasn't quite as stark but it was still very noticeable. He was an all-star snub in the first half after posting a 2.55 ERA. He then had a 4.80 ERA in the second half. The home runs spiked again as he allowed 11 in the second half after allowing just four in the first half. He did this in three fewer starts.
I like Taijuan Walker. When he's on, he can be really good. He seems to be an awesome teammate as well.
With the Mets having to fill out virtually their entire rotation, I'd look elsewhere. I'd rather give Walker's spot to David Peterson who I felt was a better option as a starter than Walker for most of the season.
Walker's second half troubles cause major concern. If he's brought back on that kind of deal he'd be expected to start playoff games, and that's just not something I think I trust.
The Mets need to figure out a way to bring deGrom back or acquire some different ace. They should also find a way to bring Chris Bassitt back. Walker as a fourth starter on that kind of contract is just too expensive and too long for me.