Right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon is just 11 starts into his Major League career. Despite this, should the Pirates already be discussing a contract extension with Taillon?
When the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Jameson Taillon with the second overall pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, his expectations were set high. Through his first 11 Major League starts Taillon has lived up to those expectations. As a result of his early success there is a question that must be asked.
This question is should the Pirates start to discuss a contract extension with Jameson Taillon? Yes, Taillon has only made 11 career starts. Yes, Taillon is under team control through 2022. But, it is never too soon to start discussing extension.
Starting pitchers with a ceiling as high as Jameson Taillon’s are not easy to find. They certainly are not cheap either. These are just two of the big reasons why, in my opinion, the Pirates should begin to discuss extension with Jameson Taillon.
Through 11 starts Jameson Taillon has a 3.00 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 3.20 xFIP, and a 1.2 WAR in 66 innings pitched. In these 66 innings pitched Jameson Taillon is averaging 7.09 K/9, 1.23 BB/9, and 0.95 HR/9. Furthermore, Taillon has pitched at least six innings in 8 of his 11 starts.
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Jameson Taillon has been able to get hitters to swing at 34.6 percent of the pitches he has thrown outside of the strike zone this season. Furthermore, his curveball has been absolutely filthy. Opposing batters are hitting just .123 off of his curveball, with a .158 wOBA and a wRC+ of four.
The change up that Jameson Taillon has thrown has been extremely effective as well. He has held the opposition to an .087 average, .076 wOBA, and a wRC+ of -4 off of his change up. Furthermore, Taillon has not allowed an extra base hit off of his change up so far.
Call me crazy, but I believe the Pirates should offer Jameson Taillon an eight year contract extension. This would buy out all of his years of arbitration, along with his first two years of free agency. At this point, Taillon would be 32 years old and most likely on the other side of his prime years.
So to answer my own question, no, it is not too soon to begin discussing a contract extension with Jameson Taillon. In fact, I believe it is the perfect time to do so. If the Pirates are able to extend Jameson Taillon, the sooner they do it the better. It will cost them less money, and will allow them to lock up Taillon through a few of his free agent seasons.
In recent years the Pittsburgh Pirates have done an excellent job of locking up their young talent. Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Josh Harrison, Gregory Polanco, and Francsico Cervelli are all examples of this. Hopefully, Jameson Taillon is next.