Taijuan Walker wanted to keep the number 99 uniform, so he considered 29 of the 30 major league teams to be an option.
“I think the only team that can’t be 99 is the Yankees,” he said, citing AL MVP Aaron Judge’s jersey number. I was tired of.”
The 30-year-old right-hander signed a $72 million four-year contract with the National League champion Phillies on Friday, joining Mitch Williams (1993) and Turk Wendell (2001) as the number 99 in Philadelphia. He becomes the fourth player to do so. So Taguchi (2008).
Walker wore number 44 growing up and got it in Seattle in 2016. Paul Goldschmidt was traded to Arizona, where he had the number, and he switched to number 99. 00. In the past two seasons, Walker has returned to 99, as the mascot Mr. Mets signed as a free agent with New York, which had his 00.
Walker will receive an annual salary of $18 million over the next four years. He started 29 games this season for the Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest rivals in the NL East, going 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA. He joined a rotation that included Zach Wheeler, Aaron Nora and Ranger Suarez,
“We have a very talented individual coming out every five days with quality stuff,” said Dave Dombrowski, Phillies president of baseball operations. “We really like his split finger, which he threw more last year, and we will continue to do so.”
Walker has already spoken to manager Rob Thomson, pitching coach Caleb Kotham and director of pitching development Brian Kaplan. Walker increased his splitter usage from 14% to 27% last season, he added a cutter, but only 5%.
He switched to the splitter grip used by teammate Carlos Carrasco this year.
“At the Mets, I was able to learn how to throw and use the splitter,” Walker said. Increase the use of splitters as well as sliders. ”
Walker is looking forward to pitching in front of fans at Citizens Bank Park.
“I spoke with Ryan Howard a few days ago and he was playing the playoffs here in Philadelphia and he said it was the loudest thing he heard in the stadium,” Walker said. Very passionate and really cares about the team and who shows up every day. When I was at the Mets, every time we came to play, there were Phillies fans here and they were out and loud.
Walker was selected 43rd overall by Seattle in the 2010 Amateur Draft. He made his major league debut in 2013 with the Mariners.
Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down his $7.5 million player his option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, and in two his seasons he signed a deal worth $17 million.
The 6-foot-4 Walker was selected to the All-Star team for the first time in 2021 and got off to a fast start before falling to 7-11 with a 4.47 ERA, appearing in 29 of 30 games.
Right-handed Taylor Scott was named to make room for Walker on the 40-man roster.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/phillies/phillies-taijuan-walker/3452881/ Taijuan Walker reveals Phillies jersey numbers – NBC10 Philadelphia