Pete Walker, the grizzled veteran of the trio, experienced easily the best season of his career in 2005. After struggling with the Blue Jays in 2003 and spending all of 2004 playing in Japan, Walker posted an ERA+ of 126 in 84 innings. However, his poor peripheral numbers from that season, coupled with his career track record, suggest he's due for a considerable drop in production.
First consider his numbers last season:
Year Tm Lg IP H BB K HR BABIP WHIP ERA FIP ERA adj. for FIP
2005 TOR MLB 84.0 81 33 43 10 .267 1.36 3.54 1.77 4.97
Evidently, Walker was awfully fortunate to allow as few earned runs as he did last season. As a result, it's rather probable that he will significantly regress this season. For one, he doesn't strikeout nearly enough batters to be a reliable, effective major league pitcher. His K/9 (4.61) and K/BB (43/33) are simply inadequate, and do not bode well for future success.
It's not as though his peripherals were a one-year aberration, either. In the four seasons since he spent most of his playing time toiling in the minors, Walker has posted the following K/9 and K/BB totals:
Year Tm Lg IP K/9 K/BB
2002 Mets/Blue Jays MLB 140.1 5.13 80/51
2003 Blue Jays MLB 55.1 4.72 29/24
2004 Yokohama Japan 46.1 4.47 23/19
2005 Blue Jays MLB 84 4.61 43/33
Rather than wait for Walker's likely implosion, it'd be wise, in my opinion, to replace him with someone from Syracuse (AAA) or simply go with a six-man bullpen instead. Really, unless the game is a well out of reach, Walker should not be summoned from the bullpen, because better options are available. Now, I may come off as overly pessimistic towards Walker, but it seems far-fetched to believe that he'll help the team, let alone match last season's numbers. If he proves me wrong and finds a way to pitch well, great. However, my hope is that the Blue Jays won't wait all season to see if he does.