Why is everyone focusing on the Yankees and Jameson Taillon all of a sudden?
In early December, Pirates writer Jason Mackey lit Yankees Twitter on fire by crashing through the wall like the Kool Aid Man to note two new trade targets for the team, one of which made perfect sense, and one of which was completely detached from reality.
The Yankees, ultimately, did not strike on slugging first baseman Josh Bell, choosing not to jettison Luke Voit in favor of a likely downgrade. Makes sense! Made sense at the time, and it still computes now.
But what are we to make of the second name, righty Jameson Taillon, who hasn’t pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery in early 2019?
Somehow, the echoes of his name are only growing as a trade candidate, even after the Yankees secured the services of Corey Kluber last week, someone who also hasn’t really pitched much since 2018.
Beat writer Bryan Hoch singled out Taillon this week as someone that the Yanks have done a lot of due diligence on, something that doesn’t generally happen if the team’s plans aren’t pointing in one direction. So should we be girding ourselves for a deal?
Taillon certainly has the most upside of any of the remaining Pirates starters, following the Joe Musgrove trade.
But we also haven’t seen him lately.
Back in 2018, his last full season (also his last moment producing anything resembling a “season”), he approached the performance level his prospect pedigree long indicated he would, posting a 14-10 record, 3.20 ERA and two complete games, whiffing 179 in 191 innings pitched.
Still just 29, there’s a ton to like about Taillon, but he provides the Yankees with the very opposite of certainty.
Kluber, Taillon and Luis Severino could line up behind Gerrit Cole and all deliver 150-inning approximations of a No. 2 starter, but it’s far more likely that none of them do so.
It would be preferable for the Yankees to target a name with more consistency attached with their next maneuver, but are there any of those left?
If not, Taillon could be a nice mid-level addition. At the very least, the conversation hasn’t stopped, and has only gotten louder.