Paxton Goes to New York
Ever since Mike Zunino was traded we heard stories that James Paxton likely would be the next one of the Seattle Mariners to be traded and it happened on Monday when they traded him to the Yankees.
There were reports the Mariners might be traded Paxton to the Dodgers or the Astros however it came down to the Yankees having the best offer. According to general manager Jerry Dipoto he talked to 2/3 of the teams in the major leagues about Paxton. He wanted to get the highest maximum trade for Paxton so it looks this was the best deal Dipoto could get. I am sure there were other teams he spoke to that may have had players better than the one they received back from the Yankees but they were not willing to do so.
Paxton was eligible for arbitration and the words around the league he was probably going to cost the Mariners $9 million to retain him for one season. It wasn’t the only reason to trade him but a good one anyway. Dipoto feels the Mariners ended up in the upper end of the major leagues but to compete for the playoffs and make the World Series he had to make changes. This is true just within their own division. The Mariners finished third in 2018 in the American League West behind the Houston Astros who won 103 and the Oakland A’s 97. Although the Mariners had a good season overall with 89 wins they were three games below five hundred after the all-star game with a record of 31-34. Before the all-star break they had a record of 58-39. During the first half period they scored two less runs than they gave up. They played in a lot of one run games with a record of 36-21 in those games. The Mariners could have lost some of those they won if it weren’t for closer Edwin Diaz.
Speaking of Diaz there are those who feel the Mariners should trade Diaz as well since they don’t think the Mariners no longer need a closer. I don’t agree with those thoughts at all. Although the Mariners may not look like a better team going into next season I don’t give up hope they will win more games than they lose. It doesn’t mean I think they will 89 games this coming season but they could win 84 or 85 games. Although Paxton was considered the ace of the Mariners he only won 11 games last season for them and his highest total was 12 in 2017. Marco Gonzales had more wins than Paxton with 13. Of course Paxton has the capability to win more games like 16 to 18 games but has never been able to pitch in 32 games which he would have been able to do so if he didn’t get hurt for a short period of time over his years with the Mariners. Of course I would like to keep Paxton around but it doesn’t mean we could get more out of other pitchers.
The Mariners picked up two pitchers and an outfielder for Paxton without giving up another player as well. In the Zunino trade they sent Guillermo Heredia packing as well. This seems better to me far as value goes thought the Mariners did get two outfielders for Zunino and Heredia. The Mariners received Mallex Smith now the Mariners starting center fielder along with minor league outfielder Jake Fraley who was a 2nd round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Rays
Back to the Yankee trade the Mariners picked up the Yankees number one prospect in left handed pitcher Justus Sheffield along with right handed pitcher Erik Swanson considered the Yankees #22 prospect however could be ready sometime during the 2019. I am sure they will be given every chance to make the rotation during spring training. I could see a rotation of Marco Gonzales. Mike Leake, Wade Leblanc , Felix Hernandez? and Sheffield.
Sheffield pitched in 20 games for the Yankees AAA team after starting the season with five games at double A. At triple A he had a record of 6-4 with an era of 2.56 throwing 88 innings. He had 36 walks which is a bit higher than we would like however did strike out 84 batters. At age 22 I am sure this would not be very unexpected and he does have a good upside.
Eric Swanson started the season at double A as well in the Yankee organization last season where he pitched in eight games before being promoted to triple A where he pitched in 14 games. He had an era of 3.86 with 14 walks and 78 strike outs in 72. So he had a better control than Sheffield though a higher era however he is three years older as well at 25. I am sure he won’t be the pitcher Sheffield will be however he could still be valuable to the Mariners.
The third player the Mariners received in the trade is Dom Thompson-Williams a 23 year old outfielder the Yankees drafted in the fifth-round in 2016. He spent most of the season in high single A Tampa for the Yankees where he batted .290 with 17 home runs and 65 runs batted in. I am sure we won’t see him in Seattle for at least three years if at all at least they have another outfielder with potential. He is listed right now as the Mariners #14 prospect.
Next will be see who will go next and who will come next as well. I wonder what catcher they are eyeing?