Taijuan Walker makes “personal decision” to leave Arizona Fall League, Mariners say he’s healthy

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Following an injury wrecked rookie season Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker went to the Arizona Fall League to recoup some of the innings he lost, but after making just two starts the 22-year-old has decided to leave the AFL.

Walker was scheduled to pitch Saturday, but was scratched. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik offered the following explanation via released statement:

Taijuan is completely healthy and was very impressive in his two outings, but made a personal decision that he needed to return home at this time. He will continue with his offseason program and we look forward to seeing him at spring training in February.

There was no sign of injury, as Walker posted a 2.00 ERA with an 11/2 K/BB ratio in his two AFL starts, but he logged just nine innings after team officials indicated they wanted him to throw 25 or so.

Walker was a first-round draft pick in 2010 and came into this season ranked as a top-20 prospect by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com. When healthy he’s posted a 2.89 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 53 innings for the Mariners and spent the majority of this season as a 21-year-old, so his health plays a huge part in Seattle’s future.

Gallegos agrees to 2-year, $11M contract with Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.