Jameson Taillon's two years of contributions to the New York Yankees have ended, but Roansy Contreras' star turn for the Pirates was supposed to be just beginning. As of early June 2023? Eh ... we'll have to get back to you on that.
Taillon was shipped to the Yankees in exchange for a four-player package before the 2021 season. When he arrived here, he was supposed to rediscover his ace form thanks to the caring tutelage of Gerrit Cole, his close friend and former teammate. And, on occasion, he did! Taillon was mostly a No. 4 starter with No. 2 starter upside. Often, he was fine. Sometimes, he was special and gutsy, like in Game 162 of the 2021 season, when he held the Rays scoreless in a win-or-go-home affair on a busted-up ankle.
Ultimately, no matter what Contreras, fellow prospect centerpiece Miguel Yajure, Canaan Smith-Njigba and Maikol Escotto were able to accomplish in Pittsburgh, the Yankees got what they desired out of Taillon. Without a ring in the Bronx, though, the Pirates seemed poised to "win" this good baseball trade once the Yanks' right-hander moved onto greener, Ivy-colored pastures and signed with the Cubs this offseason.
Until, uh ... Contreras actually began the 2023 season. The über-talented right-hander has hit a sophomore wall as many of his other Pirates teammates have approached their ceilings. His run of poor form fell to a new low on Wednesday, when he was battered by the Oakland A's for seven earned runs in one-third of an inning, which we call the Alek Manoah.
Yankees Win Jameson Taillon Trade With Pittsburgh Pirates, not debatable
It's never a good sign when the 12-498 A's decide to take out their fury regarding owner John Fisher's inability to secure stadium funding in Las Vegas on you personally.
On the year, Contreras now sports a 5.91 ERA in 12 outings (11 starts), striking out an unexpectedly low 43 men in 56.1 innings. His unsightly 1.54 WHIP makes perfect sense when paired with a Savant page that would make Bryce Elder blush. Though his fastball and curveball spin are still top-tier, this is no Luis Arraez situation. Contreras is not one-in-a-million. He simply ... looks bad. And he was demoted to the bullpen this week!
Taillon, a warrior for the Yankees during his two seasons in pinstripes, is unfortunately struggling in Chicago, too -- but at least he secured the bag for his services first. Overall, New York didn't quite get the hardware they wanted from this deal, but have to be satisfied with what Taillon brought to the table.
Contreras and the Pirates? Contrary to popular 2022 belief, there's still some work to do in his development process.