Once a Yankee, always a Yankee, and after departing this offseason for a lucrative deal with the Chicago Cubs, Jameson Taillon certainly qualifies as someone no Yankees fan could begrudge for taking the bag.
Taillon's time in the Bronx was perfectly acceptable. He came over in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2020-21 offseason, when the Yankees were in desperate need of pitching depth, as a No. 4 starter with No. 2 upside. He spent most of his two seasons in the Bronx as ... a No. 4 starter with No. 2 upside.
When the lights were brightest, he stepped his game up, pitching the final game of the 2021 season on a busted ankle against the Rays and gutting out 3.1 innings in an eventual 1-0 walk-off win. In 2022, he was even better, posting a 3.91 ERA/3.94 FIP while again dominating the Rays in 7.1 innings of a key Sept. 10 game when the Yankees' season was threatening to go off the rails.
Solid starter. Innings eater. And, apparently, not a fan of the Rays' preferred method of shuffling bullpen arm after bullpen arm into games, a strategy the Yankees have very much tried to copy in recent years.
Per Taillon, his particular brand of throwback pitching might be making a comeback.
"“Innings are making a little bit of a comeback,” the Chicago Cubs starter recently told [The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan]. “I think innings are kind of sexy again.”"- Jameson Taillon
But that's not all. Taillon continued to hit the Yankees with strays later in the interview.
"“The less you can exploit your relievers and have them be seen, the better,” Taillon said. “That’s part of why I throw so many pitches now, to try and get creative and get through the order without showing too many of the same ones.”"- Jameson Taillon
Former Yankees starter Jameson Taillon doesn't like bullpen games
Remember when the Yankees entered a playoff game with the express goal of having Peak Deivi Garcia throw a single inning before turning the ball over to JA Happ and the stressed-out bullpen for the final eight?
Somewhere along baseball's trip towards being the most optimized version of itself, somebody forgot that bringing in a parade of relievers doesn't always result in flamethrower after flamethrower showing off their best stuff. With every additional reliever brought in, the chances that one of them is off his game increases. This risk compounds itself over time, and by the time October rolls around, you might have ... oh, I don't know, a three-man bullpen where everyone else is exhausted. Sometimes Adam Ottavino enters in the fifth inning and throws George Springer a season-changing meatball. These are all hypotheticals.
Add in the pitch clock wreaking havoc on relievers who were previously reliant on collecting themselves, breathing, then revving up for a max-effort toss 20 seconds later on every single pitch, and Taillon's preference may soon become reality. The Yankees had better take note: Innings could be sexier than ever.