Yankees targeting cheap Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher in potential trade

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees
May 1, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) delivers during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are still looking for starting pitching, but their bullpen is also weak after the departure of Tommy Kahnle this off-season. Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery last year and wants to test free agency instead of coming back on an injury contract.

If general manager Brian Cashman didn’t have any problems before, he certainly does now having to supplement multiple starters across the board. He lost three starting pitchers this off-season, a few bullpen guys, and is still trying to retain DJ LeMahieu. As the Yankees try to save money, Cashman is in a tough spot with ownership.

Nonetheless, one player they have been connected to is Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher Jameson Taillon.

Taillon was injured for the 2020 season, earning just 37.1 innings of work in 2019. He is an injury-prone option that would be cheap for the Yankees to acquire but did have a fantastic 2018 campaign, pitching in 191 innings and logging a 3.20 ERA.

Cashman loves to find these under the radar options they can fill voids with. Similar to James Paxton two years ago, Jameson represents a more cost-efficient route, as the Yankees hope they can extract value from the formally injured picture. Some would say it’s a classic Brian Cashman move, but I don’t entirely believe it will fortify the starting rotation considering his inability to remain healthy.

The New York Yankees could go a different route:

There are other options out there, like Garrett Richards, who is another injury-prone player who pitched in just 51.1 innings this past season and only 8.2 in 2019. His last full campaign was in 2015 with the Angels, where he recorded a 3.65 ERA.

The thing about pitchers is that their injuries don’t normally disappear, inflammation pops back up, and elbow problems persist. We saw this with Paxton, who missed most of the 2020 season with a forearm flexor strain. However, with the Yankees trying to save money and stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold, don’t expect to see any flashy moves, especially after they acquired Gerrit Cole last off-season.

Management feels as though they have a World Series caliber team, even if their pitching is a bit problematic. When they look over at the Tampa Bay Rays and what they were able to accomplish with a quarter of the salary allocations, it must be a bit overwhelming to spend that much money and see fewer results.

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