10:45 pm: A trade does appear to be on the horizon, potentially as soon as tomorrow, per Jason Mackey (via Twitter). By all accounts, nothing has been finalized. The Pirates are said to be looking for high-ceiling prospects, even if that means taking players who are further away from reaching the Majors.
8:45 pm: The Yankees are indeed one of the teams talking to the Pirates about Taillon, tweets MLB Insider Jon Heyman. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter) goes as far as to say they “appear to be emerging as the frontrunner.” The Yankees are not the only team involved, however, as the Pirates have offers from multiple teams, adds Jason Mackey of PGSportsNow. Taillon has two years of control remaining.
2:23 pm: Joe Musgrove now gets his paychecks from the San Diego Padres, and Josh Bell his from the Washington Nationals, so it’s only natural that someone step into the void as the “next Pirates player to be traded.” According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter), right-hander Jameson Taillon is in the proverbial on-deck circle. Feinsand and MLB.com’s Adam Berry hear that Jameson could be moved as soon as this weekend.
When Taillon made his debut as a 24-year-old in 2016, he and then-rotation-mate Gerrit Cole represented a promising core that was meant to build on the success of a 98-win 2015 team. That future never quite came to be, of course, as the Pirates fell back to the basement of the NL Central and now face yet another organizational rebuild. From that perspective, trades of the roster’s veterans are borderline inevitable. Still, a Taillon trade at this juncture is not without its complications, given his uncertain status returning from Tommy John surgery. Taillon went under the knife in August 2019, missing the entire 2020 season. It was the second Tommy John surgery of his career.
Taillon’s one full season came in 2018 when he made 32 starts and logged 191 innings with a 3.20 ERA/3.46 FIP, 22.8 percent strikeout rate, 5.9 percent walk rate, and 46.2 percent walk rate. That’s the version of Taillon that will stick in the heads of opposing teams as they consider acquiring the 29-year-old. Generally speaking, Taillon brings better-than-average strikeout rates, near-elite walk rates, and a career-average 85 FIP-. Though expectations should be tempered to reflect his injury status, it’s fair to hope that Taillon might again provide mid-rotation-or-better production for a contender.
The Yankees were linked to Taillon earlier this offseason and could still be a potential landing spot. Of course, it would not be hard to find a team in need of a starting pitcher – even one coming off his second TJ surgery. Given the caution with which most teams are approaching increasing workloads for 2021, a rehabbing hurler like Taillon may benefit from a smoother transition back to action, as he would not be expected to post a 200-inning season out of the blocks.