The New Yankees have added another pitcher to their rotation.
According to an ESPN report, the Bombers acquired starting pitcher Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for prospects Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, Maikol Escotto and Canaan Smith.
Taillon, 29, did not pitch last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in August 2019, and only appeared in seven games in 2019.
In his last healthy season, 2018, the right-hander went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, striking out 179 batters in 191 innings.
Taillon’s ceiling has always been high. The Pirates selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2010 after Bryce Harper and before Manny Machado. He made his MLB debut in 2016, going 5-4 with a 3.38 ERA.
Taillon is due $2.25 million in 2021, which fits into the Yankees’ tight offseason budget and allows them to add an arm while remaining under the $210 million luxury tax threshold. He is also under team control for the 2022 season.
He is reunited with a former teammate in Gerrit Cole, but joins a rotation filled with question marks behind the Yankees’ ace, which includes Corey Kluber, Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German and Luis Severino – who is not expected back until at least June as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
The Pirates, meanwhile, continued their offseason of stockpiling prospects – adding four more in the Yankees trade, including two pitchers in Yajure and Contreras.
Yajure, 22, was the No. 15 prospect in the Yankees organization per MLB.com. He pitched seven innings over three MLB games last season, allowing just one run as the league hit .130 against him. In 2019, he went 9-6 with a 2.14 ERA in 138 2/3 innings between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.
Contreras, 21, was the No. 19 prospect in the Yankees organization per MLB.com. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, he was added to the 40-man roster this offseason after a 2019 that saw him go 12-5 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.07 WHIP In 132 1/3 innings over 24 starts at Class-A Charleston.
Smith, 21, was the Yankees’ fourth-round pick out of a Texas high school in 2017. He spent 2019 at Charleston, slashing .307/.405/.465 with 11 home runs, 74 RBI, and 74 walks in 124 games. Smith was rated as the No. 21 prospect in the Yankees organization by MLB.com, and was noted for his ability to draw walks – leading both the South Atlantic League in 2019 and the Gulf Coast League as a rookie in 2017.
Escotto, 18, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018 and was not among the organization’s Top 30 prospects. His lone pro season came in the Dominican Summer League, where he slashed .315/.429/.552 with eight homers, 26 RBI, and 13 steals in 45 games in 2019.
Both Yajure and Contreras were on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, so their departures will open one slot for the Yankees to officially announce the signing of either Corey Kluber or DJ LeMahieu.