The MLB Trade Deadline is less than a week away and one thing seems to be echoed more clearly every day: Seattle Mariners RHP Taijuan Walker is going to be traded. This shouldn’t come as a major surprise to most fans. Walker will be a free agent after this season and the Mariners depth of quality, young, high impact, and near ready MLB starting pitchers is impressive. But with Seattle needing to clear a space soon for our #4 prospect Logan Gilbert, Walker’s removal represents the best chance to gain both a valuable return in trade and to clear space for Gilbert to make his MLB debut.
Walker’s return to Seattle was almost universally cheered by the Mariners’ fandom. Walker is affable, young, and a pretty damn good pitcher. He has no shortage of fans in the blogosphere and will likely be a popular free agent target this winter. We will certainly discuss that possibility here after the World Series. But the Mariners have very few trade pieces and the number of buyers may never be this high again.
We cannot guess at what the return for Walker will look like. We have hoped that perhaps the return could be similar to what the Oakland A’s gave up for Tanner Roark. The Reds snagged Jameson Hannah in that deal, a young and athletic outfielder in AA who has a chance to be an everyday outfielder in the near future. But Walker’s injury history muddies those waters a bit, so truth be told, all we can do is guess at what a return would look like.
The day Walker is traded will be a bittersweet one. Walker has been a real bright spot in 2020 and some even went so far as to project Walker as a member of future Mariners’ teams. And to their credit, that may still be the case. The Mariners will almost assuredly look to add a veteran starting pitcher to their staff this winter and Walker checks a lot of boxes. Saying goodbye is tough, but in the world of baseball, they are all but inevitable. Walker will likely be traded in the next week, but he won’t be forgotten.