Jameson Taillon Traded to Yankees from Pirates; PIT Receives 4 Prospects

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IJanuary 24, 2021

FILE - Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Joe Musgrove plays during a spring training baseball game, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. Musgrove doesn't like wearing a mask more than any of his Pittsburgh Pirate teammates. Yet the pitcher wore one anyway  during the first day of workouts on Friday, just one way he is trying to lead  a pitching staff searching for an ace with Jameson Taillon and Chris Archer already out for 2020. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Jameson Taillon's up-and-down career will continue in the Bronx. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates have traded the 29-year-old to the New York Yankees in exchange for four prospects. Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, Maikel Escotto and Canaan Smith are the players headed to Pittsburgh.

ESPN's Jeff Passan first reported the deal.

When it was first reported that New York was interested in bringing Taillon on board, the sides also spoke about first baseman Josh Bell, but Bell eventually ended up with the Washington Nationals.

Following Bell's departure, Pittsburgh made another big offseason move when it traded Joe Musgrove to the San Diego Padres in a three-team deal less than a month after sending Bell to Washington. Moving Taillon as well puts the Pirates in a precarious position concerning their starting rotation, which now includes Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault, JT Brubaker, Mitch Keller, Cody Ponce and Wil Crowe.

Taillon, whom the Pirates drafted out of high school with the second overall pick in 2010, appeared in 82 games for Pittsburgh over four seasons but hasn't been able to reach his ceiling throughout an injury-plagued career.

He showed flashes of his potential in 2018, his only complete season, when he made 32 starts and went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA, striking out 179 and walking 46 while tossing a pair of complete games—one of which was a shutout.

But Taillon didn't get a chance to follow up that success, as his 2019 campaign ended in August after just seven starts. He underwent Tommy John surgery, and his recovery kept him out for the 2020 season. 

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That was his second time undergoing that procedure, with his first UCL repair causing him to miss the first of two consecutive seasons in the minor leagues. He sat out 2014 to rehab, and he was sidelined in 2015 with an inguinal hernia

After a rookie campaign that saw him go 5-4 through 18 starts in 2016, Taillon faced another off-field obstacle when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He had successful surgery and returned to the game after five weeks, ending the season with a 4.44 ERA through 25 starts. 

With the Yankees, Taillon will slot into a rotation that already boasted Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino at the forefront before Corey Kluber became one of the newest MLB stars to wear pinstripes. There's plenty of promise on the hill, provided everyone can produce a healthy 2021 campaign. Severino is joining Taillon in coming back from Tommy John surgery, while Kluber hasn't pitched since he broke his arm in May 2020.