NEW YORK — The Yankees made a second off-season addition to their starting rotation, acquiring right-hander Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday for four prospects.
Pittsburgh received right-handers Roansy Contreras and Miguel Yajure, infielder Maikol Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith.
Taillon, 29, would join a rotation headed by his former Pirates teammate Gerrit Cole. It also is projected to include Deivi García, Jordan Montgomery and Corey Kluber, who has a pending $11 million, one-year contract subject to a successful physical. In addition, Luis Severino is expected to return from Tommy John surgery last Feb. 27 and Domingo Germán is expected back from a domestic violence suspension that caused him to miss last season.
“Bittersweet day for me over here!” Taillon wrote on Twitter. “Trying to process everything — have SO much to say to the city of Pittsburgh and my teammates. Also have SO much to say about this incredible opportunity and to the city/fans in New York.”
This deal makes it less likely the Yankees will re-sign Masahiro Tanaka, who became a free agent. New York lost two other starters to free agency, J.A. Happ, who signed with Minnesota, and James Paxton, who remains unsigned.
Taillon was 2-3 with a 4.10 ERA in seven starts during the 2019 season, when he started on opening day for the Pirates. He did not pitch after May 1, going on the injured list with a strained right elbow flexor tendon. He had surgery on Aug. 13 with New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek to repair the flexor tendon and have ulnar collateral ligament revision surgery, his second Tommy John procedure.
Taillon was selected by Pittsburgh with the second overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft, but his big league career was delayed by Tommy John surgery with Altchek on April 9, 2014, and sports hernia surgery on July 8, 2015, with Dr. George Eid. He was limited in 2014 to a pair of spring training games and in 2015 to seven extended spring training appearances. He made his big league debut on June 8, 2016.
Taillon is 29-24 with a 3.67 ERA in four major league seasons. A five-pitch pitcher, he averaged 95 mph with his fastball last season, throwing it on about one-quarter of his pitches while mixing it with a sinker, curveball, slider and occasional changeups.
He struck out 30 and walked eight in 37 1/3 innings two years ago.
Taillon is eligible for free agency after the 2022 season. He agreed last month to a $2.25 million, one-year contract.
Contreras, a 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic, is 16-11 with a 3.25 ERA in three minor league seasons and was added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster in November. He was rated the Yankees' No. 8 prospect by Baseball America after the 2019 season.
Yajure, a 22-year-old Venezuelan, made his big league debut last year and had a 1.29 ERA in three relief appearances,
Escotto, 18, made his professional debut in 2019 and hit .315 with 11 doubles, four triples, eight homers, 26 RBIs and 13 steals in 45 games for the Dominican Summer League Yankees.
Smith, a 21-year-old Texas, has hit .280 with 50 doubles, four triples, 19 homers, 118 RBIs and 21 steals in three minor league seasons.
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Ronald Blum, The Associated Press