What Pittsburgh Pirates starter Jameson Taillon has been able to do has been remarkable of late.
Taillon has held opponents to three earned runs or fewer in his last 19 starts, the second-longest streak in the NL behind New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom with 26.
In that timespan, which dates back to May 27, Taillon has posted a 2.86 ERA and held opponents to a .671 OPS. He’s struck out 108 batters while only walking 26 in 119.2 innings pitched.
With the Pirates in need of an ace, Taillon has assumed the role and placed his name in the mix as a legitimate top of the rotation starter.
How long will it last though?
More specifically, how long will it last in Pittsburgh?
With another big season in 2019, Taillon will likely have priced himself out of Pittsburgh.
That begs the question of whether or not the club should look to sign Taillon to an extension after this season?
The Pirates are in good shape with the former No. 2 overall pick.
He’s under team control through 2022 and doesn’t become arbitration eligible until 2020.
That’s big as Pirates general manager Neal Huntington always wants controllable years and he has that with most of his pitching staff.
The problem comes when Taillon hits arbitration as if he keeps pitching like an ace, those arbitration years are going to come at a big dollar value.
And when that happens, the Pirates MO is to look to deal.
Should they talk extension?
The obvious answer is yes.
If they can extend Taillon now and buy out those arbitration years, they are going to get their best value.
It’s not likely, but if they could get something done like the Atlanta Braves did with Julio Tehran when they signed him to a six year, $32.4 million deal in 2014, it would be a good deal for the Pirates.
Somewhere in that ballpark would be a good starting point, but even though he’s not represented by Scott Boras, that’s probably too low of a number.
Once that becomes factual, there’s a lot of risk involved.
Too risky for an extension?
While he’s on one heck of a roll, 19 games is still only 19 games.
Taillon has had other positive moments, but the club likely also wants to see another full year of dominance before talking deal.
By that time, it may be too late, but there are other factors to consider on why an extension is risky.
First is the injury history, which while it hasn’t been an issue since his arrival in Pittsburgh, Taillon is just a few years removed from Tommy John Surgery and there is still risk of more arm problems down the road.
That’s true with any pitcher though.
The bigger risk is throwing big money at guys too soon, which has also been Huntington’s MO.
It’s too risky to do that with a pitcher unless the price is right.
Do you think the Kansas City Royals are kicking themselves for throwing Danny Duffy a five year deal that guaranteed him $65 million?
The Pirates can’t do that.
I guess they can, they just won’t and that’s not necessarily being cheap.
The Pirates have to be sure with Taillon and while all signs point to him being a top of the rotation guy, I would like to see it for one more year.
If I’m the Pirates, even though it’s risky, I try and lock Taillon up to a team friendly deal this offseason.
It won’t get done, but it’s worth the shot.
The smarter thing would be to wait until next season to see how Taillon performs, but it may be too late.
That’s still the route I take though.
If they can sign him to a four or five year deal during or after next season, it will not only buy out the arbitration years, but also keep him in a Pirates uniform for a few more years past 2022.
It’s a roll of the dice and every time the Pirates roll they crap out.
We will see if things go any different with Taillon.