Former Yankees top prospect from Jameson Taillon trade dealt to career-ending team

Very unfortunate.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Perhaps lost in the weekend shuffle of the craze surrounding Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect Paul Skenes making his MLB debut (and his girlfriend, LSU gymnast Livvy Dunne, stealing some headlines along the way), was the news that a former New York Yankees top prospect was the roster casualty for Skenes.

Actually, it was rightfully lost in the shuffle. But Roansy Contreras, who was out of options, was designated for assignment on Saturday. For those who don't remember Contreras vividly, he was one of the Yankees' top pitching prospects a few years back, with a decent amount of excitement attached to him.

But after the shortened 2020 season, the Yankees felt like they needed to upgrade, so they called up the Pirates about a trade for Gerrit Cole's buddy, Jameson Taillon.

The talks materialized rather quickly, and Contreras headlined a four-prospect package going back to Pittsburgh for Taillon. Pitcher Miguel Yajure, outfielder Canaan Smith and shortstop Maikol Escotto were the others. Spoiler alert: none of them panned out in any capacity.

Your classic "nothing for nothing" Brian Cashman trade. And a few years later, Contreras found himself fully out of favor with the Pirates and traded to the LA Angels of Anaheim this week.

Former Yankees top prospect from Jameson Taillon trade dealt to career-ending team

If the Pirates weren't the place where careers go to die in this situation, then it's definitely the Angels, who are one of the most disappointing and dysfunctional organizations in the sport. Contreras will join a mess of a bullpen in Anaheim in hopes of "figuring it out."

Contreras actually had himself a promising rookie season with the Buccos. In 21 games (18 starts), he finished with a 3.79 ERA, 4.38 FIP and 1.27 WHIP. He struck out a solid 86 batters in 95 innings of work. But then it was all downhill from there.

Last year, he went 3-7 with a 6.59 ERA, 5.19 FIP and 1.57 WHIP in 19 games (11 starts). This year, before the DFA, he owned a 4.41 ERA, 5.01 FIP and 1.65 WHIP in 12 relief appearances. Just not good enough. He was moved to the bullpen because of his struggles as a starter and then dealt with shoulder issues at the tail end of 2023.

So we have Contreras now across the country; Yajure is with the Giants and hasn't made a big-league appearance since 2022; Smith was let go and sent to the Mariners and then re-claimed off waivers by the Pirates; and Escotto is still at High-A with little evidence he'll be a regular major leaguer.

Yet another lesson to never hesitate when trading prospects for impact players or even everday contributors.