Toronto snags Yankees’ target and pretends to contend this season

Taijuan Walker, New York Yankees

The Toronto Blue Jays made the first major splash of the trading season, acquiring the services of right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker from the rebuilding Seattle Mariners. The M’s received a player to be named later from the Canadians in return. The development is noteworthy for the New York Yankees since they expressed interest in the talented hurler not so long ago, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

As of now, it is unclear who will be going to Seattle in return for Walker, who is scheduled to hit free agency at the end of the year. The most likely scenario is that a mid-level prospect is going to the state of Washington.

The Yankees, having lost Luis Severino and Domingo German for the year and James Paxton for the foreseeable future, are in need of some rotation help, especially since they don’t seem to want J.A. Happ on a regular schedule.

Toronto beat the Yankees in this particular trade, however, signaling that they will try to contend this year despite being currently in third place in the American League East division. They have a 15-14 record and are just 4.5 games back from the Tampa Bay Rays, who lead the pack in the east.

Walker could have made sense for the Yankees

Walker, currently 28 years old, was having a nice season in the Mariners’ rotation, with a 2-2 record, a 4.00 ERA and 25/8 K/BB ratio in 27 innings across five starts. He can be a stabilizing part of a Blue Jays’ rotation that hasn’t gotten expected returns from a number of arms.

The Yankees viewed him as a rental, since his deal expires after this season and probably didn’t require a very big investment as far as prospects is concerned.

Now, the Yankees will presumably turn their attention to other potential targets, such as the Indians’ Mike Clevinger, the Reds’ Trevor Bauer, the Rangers’ Mike Minor and possibly others. The Angels are said to be making Dylan Bundy available, as well.