5 biggest MLB starting pitcher contracts in Phillies franchise history

Aaron Nola has two of the five largest starting pitcher contracts in Philadelphia Phillies history
Aaron Nola has two of the five largest starting pitcher contracts in Philadelphia Phillies history / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
2 of 5

No. 4: Taijuan Walker, $72 million/4 years

A more recent signing, Taijuan Walker inked his four-year, $72 million deal as a free agent at the 2022 Winter Meetings, even though Trea Turner's huge signing somewhat overshadowed it.

After breaking in with the Seattle Mariners in 2013, Walker spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, and finally, the New York Mets, where he had an All-Star season in 2021 despite finishing with a 7-11 record.

After going 12-5 and lowering his ERA to 3.49 over 157 1/3 innings in 2022 for the Mets, Walker hit free agency for the third time in his career, and Dave Dombrowski and general manager Sam Fuld jumped on the opportunity to secure the middle-of-the-rotation arm to back up Zack Wheeler and Nola.

So, how did the right-hander fare in his first season in Philadelphia? Despite having his troubles early on, he settled in and had a strong middle of the season before hitting a bump in September, which led to the team opting to keep him on the bench in the postseason. Regardless, he made his 31 starts, going 15-6 and throwing a career-high 172 2/3 innings. He struck out 138 and finished the year with close to league-average ERA of 4.38.

Despite the rocky end to his first of four seasons in red pinstripes, Dombrowski and manager Rob Thomson gave Walker a vote of confidence at their year-end press conference.

"I love Taijuan, I really do," Thomson said. "This guy gave us 15 wins. Every time he goes out to the mound, he competes until we take him out and then he never wants to come out. I want a guy like that. That type of thing doesn't bother me. I love him, I love his demeanor, I love his toughness. I'm sure everything will be fine."

The next three years and the team's success over that time will determine if Walker's deal of $18 million per year was worth it for this front office.