After missing out on signing Trevor Bauer, the New York Mets are reportedly looking at alternative free-agent options to boost their starting rotation.
Per SNY.tv's Andy Martino, the Mets "have serious interest" in Taijuan Walker and are "engaged in extensive discussions."
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported last week that the Mets thought they had a deal done with Bauer before the Los Angeles Dodgers swooped in to sign the reigning National League Cy Young winner to a three-year deal.
Walker has been a productive starter when he's been healthy enough to pitch since the start of 2017. He was limited to a total of four starts between 2018-19 with the Arizona Diamondbacks due to Tommy John surgery.
The Seattle Mariners signed Walker to a one-year, $2 million deal prior to the start of last season. The right-hander pitched well with a 4.00 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 27 innings over five starts before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 27.
The Blue Jays seemed to unlock something in Walker after the deal. He was instrumental in their playoff push with a 1.37 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in six starts.
The Mets engaged with virtually every marquee free agent this offseason, but their biggest move came in a trade with Cleveland to acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco.
There are questions about New York's pitching depth heading into this season. Jacob deGrom is one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball. Carrasco is a quality No. 2 starter. Marcus Stroman didn't pitch last season after opting out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noah Syndergaard is the biggest wild card in the group as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery that kept him out for all of last season.
Adding Walker would provide the Mets some insurance in case one of their starters struggles. He's also got a high ceiling that could make him valuable as a No. 4-5 pitcher in a good rotation.