Ben Cherington is fond of reclamation projects, and the Pirates’ Rule 5 pick today shows that.
With the first pick, the Bucs chose RHP Jose Soriano, currently with the Los Angeles Angels’ AAA Salt Lake affiliate if you believe the conference call’s announcer. It wasn’t a surprise that a pitcher was chosen; this was something that just about everyone expected (even those of us who wished for a catcher).
Soriano, 22, was considered the Angels’ top pitching prospect, but there are … buts involved. One is that he has never pitched above A-level. Another—and a far bigger—but is that he had Tommy John surgery that would have caused him to miss the 2020 minor league season had it existed. He supposedly has a fastball that hits the high 90s that he can use effectively along with a slider, but he was drafted out of the Dominican Republic at seventeen in 2016 and, again, has yet to get above low A ball. Yay, development?
As far as the current big league roster goes, the talk of the Tweet yesterday, instigated by the Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey, was the rumors of a conversation between the Yankees and the Pirates concerning Jameson Taillon and Josh Bell. It intrigued Bucs Dugout’s Yankees blog sibling Pinstripe Alley enough to do some speculating, but its question is the same as ours—why?
We’ll entertain it anyway.
With Bell, such a trade would make little to no sense. The Yankees already have a solid first baseman in Luke Voit, and even if he was being shopped (again, why?), picking up Bell would be a huge gamble, particularly defensively. Yankees GM Brian Cashman is also not above a reclamation project or two, but on the off-chance this trade would go through, Bell would be riding the pine in the Bronx.
As for Taillon, who’s currently a top starter with the Bucs, it’s possible that he could fill a spot in the back of the Yankees’ rotation. However, the Yankees aren’t super-desperate for starting pitchers, and sometimes it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond. Going from a small market to a huge market isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. You can ask Randy Johnson about that.
So welcome, Jose, and talk amongst yourselves.
ETA: We’ll either update this article about the Pirates’ other Rule 5 picks or post a separate article as soon as everything’s available.