Cubs Rumors: Jameson Taillon thought he was headed to the Mets in free agency

Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game One
Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game One / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Thanks to strong communication early on in the process, the Chicago Cubs came away with their top free agent starting pitching target this winter in Jameson Taillon. But that pursuit didn't come without stiff competition from a pair of postseason contenders in the National League East.

Cubs went after Jameson Taillon hard early in free agency

According to the New York Post, both the NL pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies and the 101-win New York Mets were in on Taillon - with the former actually putting an offer on the table north of what the Cubs signed him for (four years, $68 million). What was the difference-maker for the former first-round pick? Chicago's ability to get in the weeds and talk pitching with him on a nerdy level.

"The Cubs made it clear from day one I was a top priority. If you can nerd-out and talk pitching with me, that really works for me. They showed me a good plan. It’s been exciting. "

Jameson Taillon, Cubs pitcher

Taillon, 31, joins a Cubs rotation that features Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele and Drew Smyly. The fifht and final spot in the mix will be decided in spring training, with Javier Assad, Hayden Wesneski and Adrian Sampson all vying for the vacancy left as Kyle Hendricks continues to rehab from 2022 shoulder surgery.

The Chicago front office was on the horn with Taillon's agency literally the day free agency opened - and that kicked things off. The Cubs badly needed to shore up the starting rotation and, while the right-hander may not check the 'ace' box, he definitely has the potential to be a quality innings-eater, something the staff has lacked in recent years.

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Taillon will make his first Cactus League start on Monday afternoon in a split-squad matchup against the Guardians. You can get a look at him by tuning into the game at 2p CT on Marquee Network.