New York Yankees purchase Jameson Taillon pitcher from Pittsburgh Pirates for 4 potential patrons
The New York Yankees have added another bounce-back candidate to their starting rotation Sunday, taking on Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates for four minor league prospects.
Pittsburgh welcomed pitchers Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras, infielder Maikol Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith in the deal announced by both teams.
The 29-year-old Taillon was number 2 overall in 2010 and was a 14-game winner for the Pirates in 2018. However, the hard-rolled right-handed player appeared in just seven games in 2019 and missed the entire final season while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow.
The Yankees agreed to the deal less than two weeks after the signing of two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who is also trying to recover from two injury-related seasons.
Taillon, who has spent his entire professional career in the pirate organization, tweeted on Sunday that it was a “bittersweet day” for him.
Bittersweet day for me here! Trying to process it all has so much to say to the city of Pittsburgh and my teammates. I also have so much to say about this incredible opportunity and the city / fans in New York. Thank you to everyone who tried! More will follow shortly
– Jameson Taillon (@ JTaillon50) January 24, 2021
When the Taillon and Kluber are healthy, they can provide the Yankees with much-needed experience and depth in their rotation behind ace Gerrit Cole.
With Masahiro Tanaka’s future uncertain and veteran JA Happ joining the Minnesota Twins, New York after Cole could see a lack of proven launch options.
In addition to Taillon and Kluber, other candidates for the Yankees’ rotation include left-handed Jordan Montgomery, who has appeared in just 12 games since his operation on Tommy John in 2018. Youngsters Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt; former All-Star Luis Severino, who missed all of last season because of Tommy John surgery; and Domingo German, who also missed the entire 2020 season while banned under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.
Taillon is expected to return this year after recovering from surgery in August 2019, which was Tommy John’s second operation on his right elbow. Ben Cherington, general manager of Pirates, said they weighed “comparing what was on the table now with what we thought possible, given a reasonable expectation of return and performance. And we just felt that this makes sense to us now. “
Taillon’s departure follows a deal earlier this month that sent right-hander Joe Musgrove to San Diego as part of a three-team deal that brought five prospects to Pittsburgh.
Since Cherington was hired as GM in November 2019, he has also traded first baseman Josh Bell and outfielder Starling Marte. After the season ended, the Pirates were unable to offer Trevor Williams, a third member of their rotation last season, a contract and turned down a team option for Chris Archer, who missed the final season after surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome.
“You have to be willing to make decisions like this to add talent that we need to get this thing where we want it to be,” said Cherington. “We’re probably shifting some energy back at this point to add to the team between now and spring training or between now and the season.”
Nonetheless, he admitted, “We’ll definitely hold the phone” to listen when teams are interested in other players.
As for the Yankees, the deal also reunites two former teammates in Taillon and Cole, both of whom had highly acclaimed prospects in Pittsburgh’s organization and played alongside the Pirates in 2016 and 2017.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone asked Cole about Taillon after New York embroiled Pittsburgh in trade talks.
“I told them,” If you want to bet on someone, if you want to go into battle with someone, Jameson is the guy you want next to you, “Cole told the New York Post.” He’s not impressed. He keeps making the people around him better. He’s one of the toughest people I’ve ever known. “
Taillon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he was “super excited” to be reunited with Cole.
“I’m excited. We have always dreamed of getting through the pirate system together and doing some great things. Unfortunately, we never quite made our move together. We had some great moments, but we have a real friendship and connection developed. ” he told the newspaper.
Taillon was last represented in the Majors in 2019 when he went 2-3 in seven starts with 4.10 ERA. He went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA last season.
Taillon, who is under contract for $ 2.25 million in 2021, also missed time battling testicular cancer during the 2017 season. His first operation on Tommy John was in 2014 when he was playing in the Pirates’ minor league system.
Yajure, a 22-year-old from Venezuela, made his big league debut last year and had an ERA of 1.29 in three reliefs. Cherington expects Yajure to fight for a place in spring practice.
The other outlook Pittsburgh acquired on Sunday is less advanced.
Contreras, a 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic, is 16-11 years old and has a 3.25 ERA over three seasons. He was inducted into the Yankees’ 40-man list in November. After the 2019 season, he was ranked number 8 for the Yankees by Baseball America.
The 18-year-old Escotto made his professional debut in 2019, hitting the Yankees with 11 doubles, 4 triples, 8 homers, 26 RBIs and 13 steals in 45 games for the Dominican Summer League .315.
Smith, a 21-year-old from Texas, has hit .280 in three minor league seasons with 50 doubles, four triples, 19 homers, 118 RBIs and 21 steals.
Yajure and Contreras are on the 40-man roster. To free up a place in the squad, Pittsburgh has designated outfielder Troy Stokes for use.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.