Taijuan Walker
SAN DIEGO -- It appears the Phillies checked off another item on their offseason shopping list on Tuesday, inking veteran right-hander Taijuan Walker to a four-year deal worth $72 million, according to a source. 

Walker, 30, made 29 starts with the Mets last season, posting a 3.49 ERA to go along with a 1.19 WHIP, and has a career 3.89 ERA over ten Major League seasons. 

Walker is a perfect fit for the Phils as he's a veteran arm that can sit in the middle of the rotation. He wasn't offered a qualifying offer from the Mets, so the Phillies don't have to forfeit any draft picks, and that was a big point of interest for team president Dave Dombrowski. 

The Phillies rotation now features Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, and Walker. The final spot will likely go to one of the younger arms on the roster, with Bailey Falter, Christoper Sanchez, and Andrew Painter all expected to battle in Clearwater. 

Of the three, Painter has the most intrigue. 

The 19-year-old righty is the Phillies' No. 1 prospect and was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year by MLB Pipeline. He was a strikeout machine in 2022, whiffing 155 batters over 103 2/3 innings across Single-A and Double-A. He also posted a 1.56 ERA to go along with a 0.88 WHIP. 

Manager Rob Thomson hasn't seen Painter pitch in person, but he's heard rave reviews from multiple people within the organization. 

"We don't even have to ask," Thomson said on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. "They just tell you how good this guy is. The makeup, and the intangibles, and the athleticism, all that stuff. And I've been watching a little bit of tape, and it's real. Now we have to be careful and make sure we don't rush him too soon, don't overwork him. It's a different level of tension and anxiety from Double-A to the Major Leagues."

Dombrowski and Co. will likely look to bolster the bullpen over the coming weeks, but the Walker addition is likely their last significant move this winter.
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