The Yankees have acquired the 29-year-old lefty James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners made it known a few weeks ago that they were looking to reload and willing to unload some of their top players. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has consistently stated that adding starting pitching is the number one priority this offseason and that he still wants to add another starter.
The Yankees gave up a top prospect in Justus Sheffield, whom they acquired in 2016 from the Indians in the Andrew Miller deal. Sheffield is still only 22 years old and was projected to crack the Yankees rotation sometime in the 2019 season. He was a September call-up in 2018 and in 3 relief appearances he pitched to a 10.13 ERA in 2.2 innings pitched.
The other two prospects included in the deal are RHP Erik Swanson and OF Dom Thompson-Williams.
This was a fantastic move made by the Yankees. Paxton will be an impactful addition to Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia. Here are Paxton 2018 stats.
11-6 record, 3.76 ERA, 28 GS, 160.1 IP, 134 H, 67 R, 23 HR, 42 BB, 208 K, 3.23 FIP, 1.098 WHIP, 11.7 SO/9
Paxton has flown under the radar out in Seattle but he has quietly been one of the better pitchers in the American League since 2016. He will only earn about $9 million next season and is under team control until 2021. He throws gas and throws strikes without allowing much hard contact. The key to this being a successful deal for the Yankees is if Paxton can stay on the field. He reached a career high innings pitched in 2018 but still suffered a few nicks along the way. He hasn’t had major surgeries but he’s had a few muscle strains.
For the Mariners, they are getting a top 100 prospect in Justus Sheffield. He’s had some control issues in the minors but his secondary pitches are all plus. Swanson is another promising prospect that has the potential to be a nice steal. He projects to be a back end starter or middle reliever. Thompson-Williams is the long shot of the three as he hasn’t gotten past High-A in his three seasons in the minors.
There were reports that the Yankees also wanted to include Mariners shortstop Jean Segura in the deal but the Mariners would not budge. This is just the beginning for what should be an exciting offseason.