Pittsburgh has put the right-hander on the trade block, and it's possible he could be dealt in the coming days, sources told Mark Feinsand and Adam Berry of MLB.com.
While no deal is in place, the New York Yankees are now emerging as the front-runners to land him, a source told Feinsand. However, the Pirates are weighing offers from multiple teams besides New York, including the Tampa Bay Rays, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
New York is searching for additional starting depth behind ace Gerrit Cole and former two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, who joined the club on a one-year deal earlier this month. The team was previously linked to Taillon in December.
Taillon, the former second overall pick in 2010, has spent his entire four-year career with the Pirates. Tommy John surgery - the second of his career - cost him most of the last two seasons; he last appeared in a big-league game on May 1, 2019. However, he's been throwing bullpen sessions recently and is expected to be ready for Opening Day, according to Feinsand.
During his most recent full year in 2018, he emerged as a potential ace for Pittsburgh, posting a 3.20 ERA, 3.46 FIP, and 1.18 WHIP with 179 strikeouts and one shutout over 191 innings.
Despite his elbow issues, the 29-year-old is likely attractive to other teams thanks to his low salary and promising upside. Taillon will earn $2.25 million in 2021 and won't reach free agency until after the 2023 season.
After finishing with the worst record in baseball during the shortened 2020 season, the Pirates have spent this winter stacking prospects. Slugging first baseman Josh Bell was dealt to the Washington Nationals in December, while right-hander Joe Musgrove was moved to the San Diego Padres for five prospects this week.