How Yankees could expand Jameson Taillon trade to bigger package
By Adam Weinrib
If the Yankees and Pirates reignited their Jameson Taillon trade talks, it could look like this.
Though we’re currently stuck in a seemingly endless sea of figuring out ways the Yankees can improve their youth-based rotation, both before and after Luis Severino returns, the most intriguing rumor we’ve heard this winter has involved buying low on Jameson Taillon — or so we thought.
According to the rumblings that emerged from Pittsburgh after the deal was first floated, the Pirates still intend to ask for top value for their former top pick, who’s recovering from Tommy John and hasn’t yet had the breakout year most of us foretold.
Slugging first baseman Josh Bell, whom the Yankees were also reportedly discussing a few weeks back, has since moved onto the Washington Nationals. The Yankees avoided some Luke Voit redundancy by ducking out of those discussions before they ever really started.
But is there a way for the team to dip back into the Taillon waters, add an additional piece, and expand the offer a bit?
Yankees-Pirates trade rumors for Jameson Taillon and Adam Frazier
What if the Yankees tried to get the Buccos to surrender utility man Adam Frazier in the package, too?
Frazier is coming off a slow 2020 (who isn’t?), but was a valuable contributor in 2018 and ’19, a winning player who can slot in at second base and left field, two trouble spots in the Bronx, and would prevent a surprise Jordy Mercer Outbreak in 2021, presuming injuries occur. He’s projected to be worth 1.2 WAR in part-time duty this year, according to Steamer, but has been worth ~2 WAR in his previous two full seasons.
Acquiring both men instead of banking on Taillon would justify the likely inclusion of Deivi Garcia or Clarke Schmidt, depending on whom the Yankees value more highly. Add No. 11 prospect Luis Medina and, perhaps, a back-end top 30 piece like Trevor Hauver, and that should be enough.
Taillon’s most recent full season flew under the radar, but featured 179 Ks and a 3.20 ERA in 191 innings pitched. If he can be refined enough to boost those strikeout numbers, there’s a solid chance he can be a legit No. 2, riding a buckling curve to AL East success.
Throw in a bench piece like Frazier and you can have one of our top guys in exchange, Pittsburgh.