Cubs Among Four Named "Teams to Watch" on Jameson Taillon

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Cubs Among Four Named “Teams to Watch” on Jameson Taillon

Chicago Cubs

On the one hand, when it was reported just how robust the market was for Jameson Taillon, and that he might be topping the four-year, $56 million deal Jon Gray got from the Rangers last year, I kind of mentally checked out on him as a primary Cubs target. On the other hand, given what has since kept happening to price tags around the game, I think the rumored contract level should not be a reason to mentally check out. He’s almost certainly going to get more, just by virtue of being a league-average arm with a little bit of upside from there.

And the Cubs have not been scared off:

Feinsand doesn’t report a lot, though these times of year he does get into it pretty heavy. In my experience, he tends to be pretty accurate, for what that’s worth.

We know the Cubs have local reported interest in Taillon, so this tracks in that regard. At 31 and with extensive arm issues in the past, I’m sure the Cubs are hating the idea of going to four years on him, but I think it’s pretty clear that Gray has been set up as the comp (right or wrong). So if the Cubs want to get Taillon, they’ll likely have to go to four years and top the $56 million guarantee. If they don’t, presumably the Mets or Phillies or Orioles would, if not a mystery team.

As I wrote before, Taillon is another one of these guys that I’d be perfectly content to see the Cubs land, though it’s harder for me to swallow if he’s the top starting pitcher they sign:

There are extensive pros and cons with Taillon, which make him harder to project – performance and contract – than the average free agent pitcher.

Pros:

  • Has always had great raw stuff.
  • Been around a long time, but isn’t all that old just yet (31).
  • Was more or less healthy and productive the last two years with the Yankees.
  • Not attached to draft pick compensation.
  • Likely will not require super long-term deal.

Cons:

  • Extensive injury history, including arm issues.
  • Just 787.2 total innings of big league experience despite being 31.
  • Although relatively productive with the Yankees, that was just league-average performance (101 ERA-, 101 FIP-), nothing quite like his younger days with the Pirates.
  • Velocity still decent (94 mph), but down from his younger days (95-96 mph).
  • Extreme fly ball pitcher will mean huge variance between outings.

To me, health is probably the bigger risk than the performance, as it seems a fair bet that he’d be at least a league average guy, and league average pitching is quite useful!

That said, I think the Cubs would have to believe they can next-level him a little bit in the results department if they were going to justify an aggressive pursuit (instead of some other options). Since the Cubs DO have success stories there, I wouldn’t have a problem with the Cubs adding Taillon, and selling me/themselves on the idea that they can get a little more out of him. They have some credibility on that front. And Taillon’s experience in the NL Central could also mean the Cubs have sliiiightly more familiarity with him (and how they might be able to work with him) than most free agents.

But would I want him to be THE MAIN addition in the rotation in free agency/trade? No. That, I don’t think, would be justifiable



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.