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Yankees acquire Jameson Taillon from Pirates for four prospects

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Another starter joins the 2021 rotation.

New York Yankees v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

After the Yankees splurged to re-sign DJ LeMahieu and add Corey Kluber last weekend, fans waited all week for the other shoe to drop on another roster move. The team needed to subtract from the current 40-man roster to bring those players aboard, so it seemed like a trade could be on the horizon to clear room.

Well, GM Brian Cashman did that and then some on Sunday, when he acquired starter Jameson Taillon from the Pirates in exchange for four prospects: pitchers Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras, infielder Maikol Escotto, and outfielder Canaan Smith. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was the first to report the deal, which was quickly confirmed by Mark Feinsand, Jon Heyman, and the usual crowd.

Jeff Passan then reported the names of the four minor leaguers headed to Pittsburgh. Yajure and Contreras were on the roster, so with Taillon headed to New York, that means the team only needs to subtract one more name from the 40-man to add Kluber and LeMahieu.

Immediate reaction? This is a good get for the Yankees. None of the players surrendered were top prospects, with Yajure (an occasional reliever in 2020) being the highest-ranked by MLB.com at No. 15. Contreras was No. 19, Smith was No. 21, and Escotto wasn’t ranked. If one of these minor leaguers makes it big, then congratulations to him, but if you’re Cashman, you take that gamble for a starting pitcher of Taillon’s talent every time.

Taillon missed 2020 recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the 29-year-old flashed signs of a solid starter prior to his surgery. He pitched to a 3.35 ERA (119 ERA+) and a 3.52 FIP in 39 starts and 228 13 innings between 2018-19, notching a very nice 2.1 BB/9 before the latter season was cut short.

If healthy, Taillon makes a solid No. 3 in the Opening Day rotation, easing the pressure on Jordan Montgomery, Deivi García, and whoever else might follow.

We’ll have more to come on this trade soon. For now, it’s fun to see that Taillon’s already thrilled to join the Yankees.

UPDATE: Done deal.