Pittsburgh Pirates GM Ben Cherington is looking to make big moves this off-season to cut payroll and add young talent to the farm system.
The Pirates finished the 2020 season with the worst record in Major League Baseball. They’re slashing their already minuscule payroll and trying to bolster their farm system. Bell was the first domino to fall and he won’t be the last.
The next name on the trade block will likely be Jameson Taillon.
Taillon didn’t throw a single pitch in the 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s in his second arbitration year, and serves no purpose on a team as far from playoff contention as possible. Rumors on Taillon have already started, with the New York Yankees being floated as a possible trade partner for the veteran starter.
Taillon would bring a nice prospect haul back to Pittsburgh. He’s had injury struggles, but when healthy has been a solid pitcher. In 2018, his last full season, he posted a 3.20 ERA in 191.0 innings. And the Yankees have a good crop of young pitching for the Pirates to choose from.
Beyond Taillon, any Pirates player that isn’t pre-arbitration could be on the move. Adam Frazier and Joe Musgrove have been floated as potential trade candidates. And they’ll certainly explore ways to get Gregory Polanco‘s $11 million contract off the books.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are heading towards a rough stretch of years. There’s not a ton of talent on the roster, and anybody worth trading likely will be traded.
However, if they play it right, they could develop one of the better farm systems in the league. And combined with the financial flexibility they’ll have after years having the lowest payroll in baseball, they’ll be able to add established veterans when their prospects are ready.