With ownership forcing general manager Brian Cashman to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold, thereâ€™s no surprise the New York Yankees took a few additional risks this off-season. The Yankees will rely on players coming off of the injuries to keep the cost down, as their contracts are more cost-efficient.
Cashman landed Corey Kluber on a one year, $11 million deal and traded for Jameson Taillon of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both starters havenâ€™t pitched over 37 innings over the past two seasons, but the expectation is that both will be ready for spring training. Kluber stated last week that physically he feels good but mentally, he needs to find his way out of rehabilitatio-mode. On the other hand, Taillon has been extremely optimistic about his status and expects to be 100% healthy for the season.
Taillon, now 18 months removed from elbow reconstruction surgery, is said to be throwing with exceptional control and appears ready to go for the start of the Yankeesâ€™ camp.
Taillon has undergone Tommy John surgery twice in his career, but with a slight change in his fundamentals and utilizing more of his legs, he should be able to take that additional pressure off his arm. As a former first-round pick, Taillon has spent the last five seasons with Pittsburgh, missing the entire 2020 campaign.
Taillon’s last significant sample size was in 2018, when he pitched 191 innings. He logged a 3.20 ERA with 8.43 strikeouts per nine. He has the ability to dominate at the MLB level, and his familiarity with Gerrit Cole will likely make his transition to the Yankees much smoother. He primarily utilizes a fastball, slider, curveball, and change-up. He hovers in the 95 mph range with his fastball, which is an indication of solid velocity. As he tweaks his fundamentals and utilizes his legs more, Jameson should be able to put a bit more power behind his pitches.
Despite the risks, Cashman took this off-season, if the dice roll his way, the starting rotation will be in great shape moving forward.