The Yankees and Pirates have engaged in conversations centering on Pittsburgh right-hander Jameson Taillon and first baseman Josh Bell, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. It’s unclear how serious the two sides are about making a deal, according to Mackey.
This would be a significant deal for both teams, as Taillon and Bell are among the most recognizable players on the Pirates’ roster. However, with the Pirates unlikely to contend in the immediate future, it could behoove the team to at least listen to offers for Taillon and Bell. Taillon has two years of arbitration control left, and he’s projected to earn a very affordable $2.3MM in 2021. Bell is also down to his second-last year of arb control, though he’s slated to rake in a more expensive salary ranging from $5.1MM to $7.2MM.
The 29-year-old Taillon has been a successful starter in Pittsburgh, where he has recorded a 3.67 ERA/3.55 FIP with 8.09 K/9 and 2.26 BB/9 across 466 innings, but injuries all but wiped out his previous two seasons. After throwing 37 frames in 2019, Taillon underwent Tommy John surgery that August. At last check (this past September), Taillon was coming along well in his rehab, so it seems he’ll make his return to a major league mound soon. A healthy Taillon would give the Yankees another proven starter alongside Gerrit Cole, his ex-Pirates teammate, as well as Luis Severino (who’s on the mend from his own TJ surgery).
It’s less clear where Bell would fit in New York, as the Yankees already have reigning MLB home run champion Luke Voit at first base. They also have Mike Ford in the mix as a lefty-hitting complement to the right-handed Voit, not to mention Giancarlo Stanton as their designated hitter. Bell, 28, was an All-Star for the Pirates two years ago, but his production plummeted during the shortened 2020 campaign.