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For Jameson Taillon, a chance to make a comeback in the Yankees rotation

MLB reporters and beat writers noted Taillon’s resilience, injury history and friendship with Gerrit Cole.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Since the offseason began, there has been lots of speculation as to how Yankees general manager Brian Cashman planned to fortify the team’s starting rotation. With the Yankees remaining relatively silent on the subject of Masahiro Tanaka, that rotation was beginning to look mighty thin. Then, last Friday concluded with news of Corey Kluber heading to the Bronx, and on Sunday, the Yankees traded for Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon in exchange for four prospects: right-handed pitcher Miguel Yajure, right-handed pitcher Roansy Contreras, infielder Maikel Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith.

In adding Taillon’s $2.5 million salary to the payroll, the Yankees have found a cheap way to fill out their rotation without exceeding the luxury tax threshold. At 29-years-old, Taillon has a lot of upside, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, though he’s also coming off his second Tommy John surgery since 2014 and didn’t pitch in 2020.

In breaking the news of the trade, multiple reporters noted Taillon’s resilience and toughness, as well as his close friendship with Yankees No. 1 starter Gerrit Cole. Among other challenges, Taillon was diagnosed and successfully overcame testicular cancer in 2017, as CBS Sports’ Danny Vietti noted on a timeline of Taillon’s career that he tweeted out.

Lindsey Adler of The Athletic said a scout informed her that Taillon has streamlined his mechanics and made several adjustments to his windup since his last surgery.

For his part, Taillon came across as very personable in a farewell tweet to the Pirates organization. His description of leaving Pittsburgh as “bittersweet” also suggests Taillon enjoys connecting with fans and his community, and this makes him a great fit for New York.

Via reporter Adam Berry, Bryan Hoch relayed Taillon’s excitement over his potential to make a pitching comeback of sorts. Taillon also seems over the moon to be reuniting with old pal Gerrit Cole in the Yankees starting rotation.

Considering his injury history and the fact that he hasn’t put together a fully healthy season since 2018, Taillon is far from a sure thing. That said, trading for him cost the Yankees very little, as CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa pointed out.

What a comeback story he could be. Welcome to New York, Jameson!