Walker rejoins Mariners on 1-year Majors deal

February 12th, 2020

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Three years after being dealt to the D-backs by general manager Jerry Dipoto, reunited with the Mariners on Wednesday as the 27-year-old free agent signed a one-year Major League contract and will get a shot at a starting role with his former club.

“We’re excited to bring Taijuan back to Seattle,” Dipoto said. “We believe our opportunity and his skill set are a great match and know that, if healthy, he can be an impact Major League starter for us.”

Walker was at the Mariners' Spring Training complex on Wednesday morning after weighing his options in free agency this past offseason and the deal was finalized several hours later, with reliever placed on the 60-day injured list to open a 40-man roster spot.

Adams is recovering from surgery on his left knee after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on the final road trip last season. The 28-year-old is beginning to do some light throwing and reported to camp with the rest of the pitchers on Wednesday, but he isn’t expected to be ready until midseason.

The Mariners were looking to add a veteran starter, and Walker seems a perfect fit, as he's seeking an opportunity to rebound from two injury-plagued seasons with the D-backs before hitting free agency again after this season.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that Walker will make $2 million in the one-year deal, with another potential $1 million in incentive bonuses.

Walker was drafted by Seattle in 2010 and pitched his first four seasons in the Majors with the Mariners from '13-16 before being traded by Dipoto to the D-backs along with in the / deal.

Walker went 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 starts his first season in Arizona, but he has pitched just four games and 14 innings in the past two years after having Tommy John surgery in 2018.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder has been throwing bullpen sessions for scouts in recent days and the Mariners have been one of the most-interested pursuers, believing he can help bolster a rotation that is topped by , , and , another free-agent signee who is returning from Tommy John surgery.

Rookie is expected to compete for the fifth-starter spot, but Walker's return would allow him to be brought along more slowly if necessary. The Mariners also acquired several other rotation candidates in , and in the offseason, though none has much MLB starting experience.

Former Orioles and Marlins starter signed a Minor League deal this week and provides further depth for Seattle.

Mariners pitchers and catchers reported on Wednesday and will be on the field for the first time on Thursday as camp opens.