One of the most valuable and under the radar arms is still left on the market, and while getting Shane Greene and Mark Melancon back is my first priority, Atlanta needs to take a long look at Taijuan Walker.
Taijuan Walker should wear his Jordan 1 Cement/Teals forever.
Best start since Sep. 1 2017.
7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 8 Ks.
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) August 1, 2020
Walker never lived up to his ace status and top prospect billing, but he had a fantastic 2020. After being moved at the deadline to Toronto, he tossed 26.1 innings and only allowed four earned runs while striking out 25. His FIP and WHIP were a little high at 4.14 and 1.25 respectively, which means his 1.37 ERA for the Blue Jays is probably not sustainable. Still, on a one-year deal, Walker could become an impact starter in Atlanta.
The Braves currently have a lot of rotation options, but with Mike Soroka coming back from a severe injury, bringing in another talented arm like Walker makes some sense. Drew Smyly, Bryse Wilson, and Kyle Wright aren’t exactly proven commodities, and as we saw last season, you can never have too many starters.
Alex Anthopoulos said after the Ozuna signing that the focus will now shift towards the bullpen and bench. However, if Walker’s stock gets low enough, he may be worth an addition. If he is signed and ends up winning the final rotation spot, it would also move Smyly back to a relief role, giving the bullpen another solid option to turn to.