Before getting unexpectedly shipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a five-player trade Wednesday night, Taijuan Walker had spent his entire professional career in the Mariners organization, so, come Thanksgiving, the 24-year-old right-hander made sure to note how grateful he was to city of the Seattle.
“On this Thanksgiving I am thankful for the opportunity the Mariners gave me and for all the love the fans showed me in Seattle,” Walker wrote Thursday on Twitter. “I will miss you all!”
Selected 43rd overall by the Mariners in the 2010 draft, Walker, a Louisiana high-school product, emerged as one baseball’s top pitching prospects as he ascended through the minor leagues. He made his MLB debut in 2013, and was a fixture in Seattle’s rotation two years later, and while he never fully realized his potential in parts of four seasons with the Mariners, his pedigree was compelling enough for Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen to part with Jean Segura to get him.
“I’m also thankful for the opportunity the Diamondbacks have given me and I am excited to get the chance to show Diamondbacks fans what I’m all about and justify this (organization’s) belief in me,” Walker added.
Poised to take over as the No. 2 starter in Arizona’s rotation behind ace Zack Greinke, Walker owns a 4.18 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP in 62 career starts and three relief appearances. This past season, Walker managed a 4.22 ERA in 25 starts, allowing a whopping 27 homers in 134 1/3 innings (1.8 per nine) while also missing time with foot tendinitis.
Thank you so much to all the fans in Seattle. You guys are awesome. Going to miss you all
— Taijuan Walker (@tai_walker) November 24, 2016