Hector Noesi, five other pitchers have been wearing kevlar padding inside their caps

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We first heard about these kevlar domes that can be place inside pitchers’ caps a few years back. They’re made by a company called Unequal Technologies. At the time, Major League Baseball was looking into the product and it was said that they were trying to accelerate the timetable of their production. They have yet to be approved, however, as the product has undergone changes in the past couple of years. In the meantime, MLB has introduced a padded cap made by another company that, at present, no player is wearing.

Over the weekend, CSNChicago.com mentioned that White Sox pitcher Hector Noesi was wearing the Unequal Technologies padding in his cap. Today Willie Weinbaum of ESPN.com reports that six different pitchers were using it:

An MLB executive told “Outside the Lines” on Sunday that it was looking into the use of the Dome inserts and was reserving comment. Pitchers are free to wear protective headgear of their choice, as long as it doesn’t interfere with competition or with MLB licensing agreements.

Interesting stuff. And not just because “Unequal Technologies” sounds like the name of a company from a lost Ayn Rand novel or, like, a G.I. Joe cartoon.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.