The first several months of Jameson Taillon were, well, let's just call them underwhelming. The Cubs inked the veteran right-hander and former first-round pick to a four-year, $68 million deal last winter, hoping he could take his game to new heights under the organization's tutelage.
Instead, Taillon bottomed out early. Everyone had chalked up the signing as an all-time bust. Heck, I even did the thing and drew the comps between Taillon's first stretch on the North Side and what we saw from the ill-fated Edwin Jackson signing a decade ago.
Cubs: Jameson Taillon has pitched like a new man in July
But since the calendar flipped to July, it's been a very different story for Taillon. He's made four starts, with the Cubs winning three of them (notable given they went 2-11 in his first 13 outings), working to a 2.96 ERA, 3.32 FIP and limiting opponents to a .592 OPS. Take away his first start of the month, a clunker against the Guardians, and things look even better: three starts, a 1.86 ERA, 3.13 FIP and .549 opponent OPS.
His latest effort came in Sunday's lopsided series finale win over the rival Cardinals in front of a packed Wrigley Field crowd that's hungry for meaningful second half baseball. Taillon knows what the Cubs need of him: and right, now he's happy to be delivering.
"I feel like for a while I wasn't doing my job there. So, it's nice to at least finally feel like I can start keeping the team in games and put us in a good position to win. "- Jameson Taillon, via MLB.com
With just over a week until the trade deadline, the Cubs still haven't settled in as buyers or sellers. Cody Bellinger's out-of-this-world month of July has his trade value - and his value to this team - higher than ever as Chicago draws closer to .500 and continues to hang around in both the NL Central and NL Wild Card pictures.
Taillon will get the ball one more time in July, with the chance to put the finishing touches on a masterpiece. And he'll do it with the Cubs' season very much on the line in enemy territory later this week against those same Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Another dominant outing and Cubs fans will quickly forgive his early season woes.