The Minnesota Twins' pursuit of starting pitching has had as many ups and downs as a bad soap opera this offseason, but things are ticking upward with the signing of Jhoulys Chacin and a new report Monday that said the Twins are showing interest in free-agent right-hander Taijaun Walker.
According to the Star Tribune's Phil Miller, the Twins aren't done adding pitchers, with Walker being a possibility for the pitching-starved franchise.
Walker was one of the brightest young prospects in baseball during his rise through the Seattle Mariners' system, but the consensus top-15 prospect was sent to Arizona in a star-studded deal that also included Mitch Haniger, Ketel Marte and Jean Segura.
The change of scenery benefitted Walker as he flashed signs of progress during his first year with the Diamondbacks. With a 9-9 record and 3.49 ERA (a career-low), he also logged a career-high 8.4 K/9 rate. But his success was short-lived after he underwent Tommy John surgery after 14 innings in the 2018 season and sprained a shoulder capsule during his recovery last May.
Walker made his way back to the majors late last year, but it was to serve as an opener in the Diamondbacks' final game of the season. With a projected salary north of $5 million, Arizona opted to non-tender the right-hander and he's been trying to prove his health this offseason.
While both sides have shown interest in joining forces, the Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal also believed that the 27-year-old is waiting for the possibility of a guaranteed contract as opposed to the non-roster deal the Twins are seeking.
The addition of Walker would be intriguing for the Twins, who essentially have three pitchers (Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, and Homer Bailey) at their disposal to open the season while Michael Pineda wraps up his suspension for violating MLB's performance-enhancing drugs policy and Rich Hill recovers from elbow surgery.
If the Twins can land Walker, it would be another low-risk gamble to see if Walker can regain the form that once made him one of baseball's most promising pitchers.