The New York Yankees have acquired another pitcher with the addition of Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yankees have been active recently in signing DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber to contracts. The Pirates will receive four prospects in return including their 15th-rated prospect Miguel Yajure. Ken Rosenthal reported the original agreement, while Bob Nightengale first supplied the prospects.
Source confirms: The Yankees have agreed to acquire RHP Jameson Taillon from the Pirates. The deal is subject to a review of medical records. First: @JonHeyman.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 24, 2021
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 24, 2021
Yankees Acquire Jameson Taillon
The 29-year-old Taillon has been one of the best pitchers in Pittsburgh during his four seasons as a major league pitcher. He has a 3.67 ERA with 419 strikeouts and 117 walks in 466 innings. Taillon did not pitch in 2020 due to elbow surgery that also cut short the 2019 campaign. He was still very good in 2018 with a 3.20 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 191 innings. His two complete games also led the National League that season.
The Pirates originally drafted Taillon second overall in the 2010 Amateur Draft and have seen him blossom into a very respectable pitcher. He has typically thrown four pitches, but he added a slider in 2018 per Baseball Savant. His fastball has averaged a healthy 95 mph and the slider has replaced the curveball as the preferred secondary pitch; Taillon threw it almost 32 percent of the time compared to just 15.7 percent for the curveball. He began his Pirates career throwing the curve on 26.3 percent of his pitches. It will be interesting to see if the Yankees adjust his pitch mixture further.
Taillon’s Role in New York
Taillon should be in the middle or back half of the rotation to start 2021 assuming he is completely healthy. Gerrit Cole is the clear ace, but the rest of the rotation does not have a clear order at this point. Kluber could take the second spot, it could be Taillon, or it could be someone else entirely. New York has not been shy about stockpiling depth and that should be on display when the year gets underway.
On the other side, it’s unclear what Pittsburgh should expect from its return. Yajure is an international signing from Venezuela who has averaged 92-95 on his fastball since joining the organization. He probably has the profile of a fourth or fifth starter. RHP Roansy Contreras, OF Canaan Smith, and Maikel Escotto, an 18-year-old infielder, round things out. Yajure and Contreras could help the pitching staff as soon as this year, but it could be a longer waiting time for Smith and Escotto.
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