Taijuan Walker agrees to four-year deal with Phillies

SAN DIEGO — The Phillies aren’t wasting time in the winter meeting.

The Phillies and right-hander Taijuan Walker have agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract pending a medical, two sources told MLB.com Tuesday night. Walker, 30, will be in Philly’s rotation behind Zach Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez, while a combination of top pitchers like left-hander Bailey Falter and Christopher Sanchez and right-hander Andrew Painter Will compete for top pitcher. 5 positions.

A source also confirmed reports that the Phillies are close to a two-year, $15 million deal with left-hander Matt Strahm. He’ll be the second lefty in the bullpen behind Jose Alvarado.

Walker and Strahm will be the second and third big moves of the week for Philadelphia as it tries to upgrade its National League title roster with a series of moves that everyone is talking about in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt in Manchester.

The Phillies on Monday agreed to an 11-year, $300 million deal with shortstop Trey Turner, who turned down a $342 million offer from the Padres, a source told MLB.com. Turner is scheduled to have a physical in Philadelphia on Wednesday. He will be introduced at a news conference at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday.

Walker and Stram will be announced at a later date.

But the Phillies ticked three options this week: shortstop, rotation and bullpen, though they could find more replacements.

Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts for the Mets last season. He struck out 132 and walked 45 in 157 1/3 innings. He pitched 159 innings with New York in 2021 and was named to the National League All-Star team.

“Ideally, you’re looking for someone who can pitch multiple innings, give you 30 starts and throw 160-180 innings,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday when asked about his pursuit of a starting pitcher. Say. “You want a guy who can pitch a couple of innings for you because we have the Big Three.”

Walker made just three starts in 2018 due to a right elbow injury that ultimately required Tommy John surgery. But before joining the Mets, his 20 seasons with the Mariners and Blue Jays were cut short by 11 starts due to the pandemic.

He has been healthy ever since.

One potential concern is Walker’s second-half performance the past two seasons. He went 7-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 16 starts in the first half of 2021, but went 0-8 after the All-Star break with a 7.13 ERA. He’s 7-2 with a 2.55 ERA in 16 starts in the first half of the year, but has a 4.80 ERA in his remaining 13 starts.

But there’s also the effectiveness of Walker’s distribution, who took more shots last season. Opponents are hitting .195 with a .267 slugging percentage.

Walker seemed like a good fit for the Phillies, who were always shopping in the row below Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon. Dombrowski said Monday that Philly has no interest in signing another player who has received a qualifying offer, such as Turner, which cost the team the second- and fifth-highest picks in the 2023 MLB draft, plus an international bonus pool of $1 million. If the Phillies sign a starting pitcher like Rodón, Chris Bassitt or Nathan Eovaldi, they also lose their third and sixth picks.

“I don’t think we’ll have much interest in that,” Dombrowski said.

Strahm went 4-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 50 appearances for the Red Sox last season. The average speed of his four-seam fastball jumped from 93.1 mph in 2021 to 94.2 mph last season.

He effectively replaced Brad Hand in the bullpen, which included Seranthony Domínguez, Alvarado, Connor Brogdon and Andrew Bellatti.

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