- Yankees add another starting pitcher following the signing of Corey Kluber
- Yankees trade numerous prospects to Pittsburgh in return for Jameson Taillon
- Are the Yankees now ready for a run at the World Series in 2021?
Only a week after adding former All-Star Corey Kluber to their starting rotation, the Yankees have added yet another pitching piece to their arsenal. Jameson Taillon is the man who has this time made the move to New York in a trade with the rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates, who acquired four Yankees prospects in return.
Taillon has spent his entire MLB career with the Pirates since making the jump to the Major Leagues in 2016 and the Yankees will be hoping he can provide the experience and depth their rotation so desperately needs behind ace Gerrit Cole. Adding Taillon goes a long way to achieving this but are the Yankees now ready to compete in 2021?
What will Taillon bring to the Yankees?
Similar to Kluber, Taillon has previous history with injuries after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020 but Taillon, a former second overall pick in 2010, is a strong dependable pitcher with a canon of a fastball which has helped him to achieve a 3.67 ERA in his career so far.
Primarily favouring four-seam and two-seam fastballs, known to reach up to 99mph, Taillon will not however add much versatility to the Yankees pitching lineup. Instead he will alleviate some of the pressure on Gerrit Cole and young prodigies like Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, who are still finding their feet in New York, with his velocity and speed on the mound.
Taillon will be a serviceable piece for the Yankees. Look for him start in the four or five position behind Kluber and the returning Luis Severino. When healthy, Taillon is definitely a pitcher capable of holding opposition batters to minimal scores subsequently giving the Yankees batting lineup more than a chance to compete.
The futures of German and Montgomery
Adding a player with the capabilities of Taillon also brings into question Jordan Montgomery’s place in the rotation as well as Domingo German. German missed the entirety of the 2020 season following a suspension for domestic violence and Montgomery can hardly be considered a safe bet when you contemplate the errors he accounted for when in the rotation; Montgomery led the AL in errors in 2020.
The Yankees lack of options therefore forced them into this trade. General manager Brian Cashman acknowledged he had to add fire power behind Cole if they were to really stand a chance of returning to a World Series and Yankees fans will be delighted that Cashman managed to acquire a talent in Taillon and give up very little in return.
Whilst Yankees fans pondered the thought of losing the likes of outfielder Clint Frazier and third baseman Miguel Andujar, the Yankees had other ideas and instead sent a number of minor league prospects to the Pirates. This included Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras, infielder Maikol Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith. Not losing any potential game-changing players is a move that will please Cashman and fans alike no doubt.
New and returning faces
The trade also sees Cole and Taillon reunite after pitching together with the Pirates during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Having familiarity with Taillon will please Cole and will give him confidence that the Yankees can compete when he is rested in the rotation. When you take into consideration that Luis Severino is also slated to return for the 2021 season and the recent signing of Kluber, the Yankees will have many new and returning faces ‘toeing the slab’ in the coming year.
It is also important to note that Taillon carries a very minimal salary. He is projected to earn just over $2 million in 2021 giving the Yankees enough room to add to their bullpen and still stay below the designated $210 million luxury tax threshold. Recognising that Taillon carried a minimal salary is a genius move from Cashman who can now focus his efforts of rebuilding the bullpen after losing the likes of Jonathan Holder and Tommy Kahnle to the Cubs and Dodgers respectively this offseason.
Taillon trade: Final thoughts
In summary, Taillon is a piece of masterful acquisition by Cashman.
Similar to Kluber, the deal is low-risk-high-reward and Yankees fans can at the very least look at their starting rotation on paper and feel very confident of their chances of success as the 2021 season moves ever closer.