The Cubs have signed free agent starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, who joins from the Yankees after a very good season in New York, to be their starting pitcher. A position in which they were very interested in adding at least one impact arm to the rotation.
According to reports, Taillon will sign a four-year, $68 million contract with the Cubs.
The Chicago Cubs’ last 24 hours have been hectic and crucial. The team agreed to a one-year, $17.5 million contract with free-agent center fielder and former National League MVP Cody Bellinger earlier today. The Cubs have yet to confirm or announce either deal.
On Tuesday, Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins stated that the team’s primary goal was to find rotation help.
“You can never have enough pitching. That’s pretty tried and true,” Hawkins said. “We would absolutely love to add as many as we can. I think we do have great internal options already that are guys that we want to continue to give innings to.
According to reports, the Cubs were the only team to meet with Taillon in person about the possibility of signing him.
The signing of Taillon won’t cost the Cubs any draft choices. Taillon was predicted to sign a $56 million contract, so the Cubs really got a bargain deal.
The #Cubs today agreed to terms with RHP Jameson Taillon on a four-year major league contract.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 19, 2022
What can the Chicago Cubs expect from Jameson Taillon?
Taillon has been a solid Major League starter for the New York Yankees over the last two seasons, especially after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery, which forced him to miss the majority of the 2019 season and kept him out until the 2020 season. Taillon was also forced to miss some time in 2017 battling testicular cancer, which was beaten quickly and remarkably, missing only around one month.
This deal will send Taillon back to the NL Central, where he spent much of his career there, as he entered MLB in 2010 as the 2nd overall pick of the Pirates.
Right-handed pitcher Taillon had a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts last year, striking out 151 batters while walking just 32, which meant that in 177 13 innings pitched, he had a 4.72 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which was a career-high.
Taillon was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Yankees in January 2021, and he went 22-11 with a 4.08 ERA in 61 starts. Taillon’s main issue is allowing a lot of home runs, as he allowed a total of 50, but his ability to keep extra runners off the bases is a plus.
Taillon is a 31-year-old pitcher who has lost his dominant stuff. He has six pitches: a four-seam fastball, a slider, a curveball, a sinker, a cutter, and a changeup.
During the 2022 season, he threw at least 8.5 percent of those pitches. His best pitch is clearly the curveball as hitters are only hitting .168 with 43 strikeouts against it.
2022 was a really good year. But there is so much to look forward to in 2023! New amazing city to call home, new teammates to get to work with, and new fans to play in front of! Let’s get this year going. One last throwing session of ‘22 (in some new colors) pic.twitter.com/L94RCpYY10
— Jameson Taillon (@JTaillon50) December 31, 2022
How are the Cubs looking in the rotation right now?
Jameson Taillon joins a Cubs rotation led by Marcus Stroman, who signed a three-year, $71 million contract in free agency last winter. Veteran Kyle Hendricks and lefty Justin Steele, who solidified his spot on the staff after a strong showing last season, should be the Cubs’ other options in the rotation, with a spot remaining in every MLB team’s standard 5 man rotation.
Right-handed pitcher Keegan Thompson, who has proven to be an excellent option as a starter or multi-inning reliever, could fill the final spot. Adbert Alzolay, Adrian Sampson, and rookies Hayden Wesneski and Javier Assad are among those who could compete for the final spot. Caleb Kilian, a prospect who reached the majors last season, is another name to keep an eye on.
2023 #Cubs Starting Rotation
1.) Marcus Stroman
2.) Jameson Taillon
3.) Kyle Hendricks
4.) Justin Steele
5.) Drew Smyly
•Caleb Kilian pic.twitter.com/h4sUTICaoA
— Chief Cub (@ChiefCub) January 4, 2023
How Did They Convince Taillon?
The addition of Taillon adds even more talent to a team that lost 88 games last season but had a rotation that had a 2.89 ERA in the second half of the season, only being beaten by the Los Angeles Dodgers and World Series champion Houston Astros.
This is something that the Cubs most likely used to entice Taillon’s interest and show him that this team has the talent to compete in 2023. Especially after signing free agent Cody Bellinger and following reports stating that the Cubs would love to sign Dansby Swanson and left-handed power batter Dominic Smith.
Last season star player Willson Contreras is rumored to sign a five-year contract with the Cardinals, so the catcher position still remains a problem to solve for the Cubs.
The Cubs are said to still be looking at the starting pitcher free-agent market with players like Carlos Rondón, Kodai Senga, Chris Bassitt, Nathan Eovaldi and Noah Syndergaard still being available in the market.
Credits on Featured Image: D. Benjamin Miller, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons