It was common knowledge that the New York Yankees were going to be in the market for a starting pitcher and while some of the names they have been linked to like Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ could still be a possibility at some point this off season, the Yankees boosted their starting rotation in a big way by going out and getting Mariners ace James Paxton. In the deal they’ll be sending prospects Justus Sheffield, Dom Thompson-Williams and Erik Swanson to the Mariners
For the Yankees this is a slam dunk deal. They are in a position to try and win a World Series after winning 100 games last season and having a lot of guys that are talented young players. Plus, Paxton is still only in the arbitration portion of his career, so they won’t be having to give him the big contract that he will likely get for a few more years.
Paxton has a career ERA of 3.42 and he’s been pretty consistent since becoming a full-time starter in the Seattle rotation in the 2016 season. Paxton is a guy that has very good control, with his career-high in walks only being 42, which was last season. He has complemented that with striking out 9.5 batters per nine innings.
Now Paxton has had some injury issues over his career and that’s something that he will need to overcome to make sure he’s available as much as possible, but if he can stay healthy, this is a great deal for the Yankees.
For the Mariners, the return isn’t bad. Justus Sheffield is the highlight of the return package as he entered last season ranked as high as 41st by Baseball America going into last season. Sheffield is a former first-round pick by the Indians and he is mostly a fastball/slider guy. He instantly becomes the number one prospect in the Mariners farm system.
Erik Swanson is a guy that can throw the ball with velocity. He’s usually around 92-94, but at times he can hit velocities higher than that. He also has solid control. The only downside is that he will need to work on developing a secondary pitch before he has a chance to become a reliable starting pitcher in the major leagues.
Dom Thompson-Williams gets slated in as the number-14 prospect for the Mariners. At this point in his career he’s mostly an athletic guy that can play defense in the outfield. He also has okay power. Thompson-Williams has the tools to be a real player, but he still needs refining in his game to try and become a real major league player.
As I already stated, I love this deal for the Yankees. They are title contenders and adding Paxton to a rotation that already has Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka was an easy decision to make.
For the Mariners it’s a solid return because they have maybe the worst farm system in all of baseball. Sheffield is now their only prospect ranked in the top-100 by MLB.com, but even with that, the other guys they got have some promise.
The Mariners doing a tear down of their current roster has been rumored since the World Series ended and that looks pretty likely now with the trading of James Paxton and with them already having traded Mike Zunino.