New York Yankees News/Rumors: Trade rumors on Jameson Taillon heating up

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees had a number one priority of re-signing second baseman DJ LeMahieu. After two months of the negotiations going nowhere, the Yankees finally signed a team and player-friendly contract that will see the batting champ remain in pinstripes for the next six-year. The Yankees got the deal done for $90 million. At that point, they knew about how much money they would have to spend on fixing the other big problem, pitching. Within hours of the DJ signing, the Yankees signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to a low risk, high reward one year contract for $11 million. But general manager Brian Cashman knows the Yankees still need more pitching help.

Rumors during the offseason come and go, with most not panning out. But recently, the news of the Yankees being interested in Jameson Taillon is heating up. Taillon just signed a one year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates last year’s cellar team. The deal was for just over $2 million, an amount the New York Yankees could easily absorb. If the Yankees are truly interested in a trade with the Pirates, it’s doubtful that the Yankees would have to give up much. Maybe just Luis Gil and another prospect or two. The big question is whether the Pirates will let him go after losing Joe Musgrove to the San Diego Padres.

Last season the Pittsburgh Pirates were solidly at the rock bottom of baseball, finishing with the worst winning percentage in all of baseball (.317). The Pirates have no chance of competing this year either, so they might be willing to move Taillon for some good prospects, helping them build back up and at the same time helping the Yankees with a  present need. Taillon had a good season with the Pirates in 2018, but after just seven games in 2019, it was found that he required Tommy John surgery. He sat out the entire 2020 season rehabbing and should be ready to go in 2021 at the start of the season.

General manager Brian Cashman has a history of taking chances on previously injured players, as he has already done with Corey Kluber. In a worst-case scenario, both of these pitchers will be average pitchers, but there is also an excellent chance to excel for the Yankees and prove their worth with minor investment. If the New York Yankees can trade for Taillon, both he and Corey Klubler will become free agents at the end of the season. This will also give the Yankees a whole season to evaluate the returning pitchers Domingo German and Luis Severino and further develop prospects Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Michael King.

At just 29 years old, Taillon is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound pitcher and a former first-round pick back in 2010. He primarily utilizes a fastball, singer, slider, and curveball. He gets an impressive 50% ground ball rate, which plays well at Yankee Stadium. Beat writer Bryan Hoch singled out Taillon this week as someone that the Yanks have done a lot of due diligence on, which doesn’t generally happen if the team’s plans aren’t pointing in one direction. So should we be girding ourselves for a deal?

 

Yankees reportedly ‘doing their homework’ on Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have a good rotation. They have ace Gerrit Cole, southpaw Jordan Montgomery, youngsters Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, and fireballer Domingo German. Additionally, they recently added Corey Kluber on a one-year, $11 million contract for the 2021 season.

However, and perhaps except for Cole, every one of those starters comes with a question mark. Can Montgomery pitch closer to his 2020 FIP (3.87) than ERA (5.11)? How will German look after more than a year without pitching in the majors? Can Garcia maintain the control gains he made in 2020? Is Clarke Schmidt ready for the bigs? How about Kluber’s health?

That’s why it is a good idea for the Yankees to remain engaged in the free agent and trade markets. Both still have options, especially the former. But if the team doesn’t want to pay big bucks, they can try and find a partner to do business with.

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently traded first baseman Josh Bell and starter Joe Musgrove, but they still have enticing pieces on their roster. Jameson Taillon is a name that is surely in the New York Yankees’ radar.

The Yankees are interested in Taillon

Yankees MLB.com beat writer Bryan Hoch recently posted on an Instagram story that the Yankees are looking to add at least another pitcher and have done their homework on Taillon.

The right-hander is a talented hurler with an interest in analytics and looking for ways to improve. He is also cheap, as he is owed $2.25 million for the 2021 season. The red flag is that he has had Tommy John surgert two times already.

The 29-year-old hurler has a 3.67 ERA and a 3.55 FIP in 466.0 career innings, with a 21.5 K% and a 6.0 BB%. He is not an ace, but the Yankees don’t need one. They need talented pitchers to lengthen the rotation, and Taillon fits the bill.

Yankees targeting cheap Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher in potential trade

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

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.

Sources: New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates in discussions about Josh Bell and Jameson Taillon

New York Yankees

Multiple sources have reported that the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates have discussed a potential trade involving Josh Bell and Jameson Taillon of the Pirates.

The Yankees are in need of starting pitching and a left-handed hitter, and a trade could take care of those needs. However, it could come at the expense of Yankee first baseman Luke Voit.

Bell, a first baseman himself, is a left-handed power-hitting first baseman. He was an all-star in 2019, hitting 37 home runs, driving in 116, and recording an OPS of nearly .950. Bell struggled in 2020, hitting just eight home runs with an OPS well under .700. Many of baseball’s stars struggled in 2020, so it’s not something that could be a dealbreaker.

The big issue with Bell is his defense. Since his 2019 debut, Bell has a -7.0 dWAR and -37 defensive runs saved. In short, he’s a horrendous defender.

If the Yankees were to acquire Bell, they would have to make a decision: either play Bell at first, or DH him. Right now, the Yankees are planning to DH Giancarlo Stanton, but that could change if Bell becomes a Yankee. If they were to play Bell at first, it would likely be the end of the Luke Voit era. Bell would be the starter, and Voit doesn’t deserve to be on the bench. With the value that Voit provides, it makes you wonder what the Yankees are thinking by potentially pursuing Bell.

On the other hand, acquiring Jameson Taillon could help fill one of the spots in the Yankee rotation. Taillon has been on the IL since May of 2019, undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.

But when healthy, Taillon is a very steady pitcher. He has a career 3.67 ERA, 3.55 FIP, and 1.247 WHIP. His fastball velocity sits around 95mph while his off-speed pitches average around 88mph.

Taillon could be a solid option for the Yankees in the middle of the rotation. He has two more years of team control, and makes a lot of sense for the Yankees.