The Toronto Blue Jays, currently sitting in third place in the AL East, are making a move toward the playoffs. They agreed to a trade Thursday to acquire Seattle Mariners starter Taijuan Walker, hoping to bolster their rotation as they compete for a wild-card spot.
The deal was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and confirmed by Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto shortly after. The return for the Mariners, per Rosenthal, is a player to be named later.
#Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto confirms Taijuan Walker trade to Toronto on @710ESPNSeattle
"It's true...we have made a deal that sent him to Toronto...he could not have been better in the first half of an abbreviated season...wish him nothing but the best."
— Jessamyn McIntyre (@JessamynMcIntyr) August 27, 2020
So far this season Walker is 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 27 innings.
Walker, 28, is a former top prospect who never delivered on the hype, but has been solid in recent years. He came up in the Mariners system, but was traded to the Diamondbacks in 2016. His Arizona tenure was also solid if not spectacular. He returned to Seattle this year. For his career, Walker is exactly a .500 pitcher — with a 33-33 record and a 3.95 ERA. Walker is only signed through the 2020 season, so this is purely a rental for Toronto.
The Jays, meanwhile, are surpassing expectations this year after a 95-loss season in 2019. They have a dynamic young lineup but have dealt with a number of pitching injuries so far this season. Three Jays pitchers are currently on the IL. Walker should give them immediate help, and depth for the final month of the season. Entering play Thursday, they held the No. 8 seed in the AL playoffs — the last team in in MLB’s expanded 2020 postseason format.
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