When the New York Yankees brought right-hander Jameson Taillon via trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates, they envisioned a pitcher that may not provide incredible length, but pitched high-quality innings with great run-prevention skills.
After all, in his four years with the Pirates, he never had a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) higher than 4.00, and also had a couple of 3.0+ WAR seasons. In other words, they hoped for above-average per-inning efficiency and production.
So far, that hasnâ€™t been the case. Taillon has, over ten starts, a 5.10 ERA and a 4.61 FIP. He has pitched 47.2 innings, so in average, he hasnâ€™t cracked five. The Yankeesâ€™ hurler understands he needs to be better in order for the team to reach its objectives.
Yesterday, the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays scored three runs over five innings on the righty, and since the Yankees just havenâ€™t been hitting at all recently, it was too much to overcome.
â€œItâ€™d be nice to pitch with a lead, but at the same time, thatâ€™s how itâ€™s going right now,â€ Taillon said, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. â€œItâ€™s my job to go out there and put up zeroes, and I put us in a little bit of a hole.â€
No shot to the Yankeesâ€™ offense
Later in the afternoon, Taillon clarified that his remarks were by no means a shot at his Yankeesâ€™ teammates.
Both things remain very real, though: Taillon needs to be better, and the Yankees need to remember how to make consistent hard contact in the air. They need to score more runs, otherwise they risk too much.
â€œIâ€™m confident weâ€™ll pull through,â€ Taillon said. â€œBut right now with how itâ€™s going, I needed to definitely put up a few more zeroes.â€
The Yankees could eventually get Luis Severino back, maybe this month. They expect Corey Kluber to contribute meaningful innings in several weeks. If Taillon doesnâ€™t improve, and everybody gets healthy, the team will be forced to make tough decisions.