Yankees Rumors: Jameson Taillon trade imminent, Yasiel Puig a serious consideration

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees
Apr 25, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) delivers a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman works quickly, and when there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Recent reports have connected Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher Jameson Taillon to the Yankees, as they desperately need a more consistent arm with potential. He will only be on the books for $2.25 million in 2021, with control until 2023.

At just 29 years old, Taillon is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound pitcher that recorded a 4.10 ERA in 2019. However, his sample size of 37.1 innings doesn’t say much. His most recent full campaign was in 2018 when he logged a 3.20 ERA over 191 innings. His 46.2% ground ball rate fits well in Yankee Stadium and his career-high 3.9 WAR two years ago shows he can be of quality.

The expectation is that the Pirates will move him soon, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB Network.

Considering the Yankees have been in contact with Pittsburgh regarding his services, I am under the impression that Cashman is looking to acquire the young starter. However, depending on what they’re asking for, Cashman should be conservative. Pittsburgh may look at a player like Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar as potential parts of the deal. I would be OK giving Andujar, but Frazier has earned his right to starting reps in 2021.

However, another rumor is going around that the Yankees are also interested in slugging outfielder Yasiel Puig. Their interest in Puig is surprising, but it could indicate that Cashman is willing to part ways with Frazier for a starting pitcher.

The former Los Angeles Dodger didn’t play in 2020, but in 2019, he recorded a .267 batting average with 24 homers and 84 RBIs. At 30 years old, he has plenty of quality baseball left in his bones, and he would add significant power to the outfield to pair with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. He has had some troubles in the past in the locker room, but if the Yankees can corral him, he would give them that extra edge they need in the batting order.

Defensively, Puig recorded a .977 fielding percentage in 2019, committing six errors and recorded 244 putouts. Again, the Yankees’ interest in him is extremely surprising, and the only justification is that they’re willing to trade Clint with his stock at an all-time high after finishing 2020 as a Gold Glove finalist and putting together some solid at-bats.