The Blue Jays have acquired right-handed starter Taijuan Walker from the Mariners for a player to be named later, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report on Thursday. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has since confirmed the deal. The teams are working around the 2020 rule which prevents players not in an organization’s 60-man player pool from being traded, and a minor-leaguer will be officially sent to the Mariners once the season is complete.
The Blue Jays have acquired Taijuan Walker from the Mariners, source tells The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 27, 2020
The player the Mariners are acquiring is a minor leaguer who is not part of the Blue Jays’ 60-man player pool. https://t.co/urwKEe4CDW— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 27, 2020
Walker, who just turned 28, is having a solid bounce-back season after being limited to four starts over the past two years due to injuries. After being dealt to the Diamondbacks following the 2016 season, Walker returned to the organization that drafted him this offseason, and he’s responded by posting a 4.00 ERA with an impressive 1.07 WHIP, 25 strikeouts, and eight walks over five starts (27 innings).
It feels like the Blue Jays are still at least a year or two away from having a chance to contend for the AL East title or make a deep run in October, but they’re surprising buyers with expanded playoffs this year. At 15-14, they have 74.3% postseason odds according to Baseball Reference and would earn the last AL wild card spot if the season ended today.