Yankees acquire James Paxton but still shopping for more arms
After falling to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series, GM Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees devised a plan to improve their Major League roster in hopes of getting back to the World Series. Atop that plan was adding some quality starting pitching.
On Monday, the Yankees began executing the plan. New York acquired top-line starting pitcher James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for top prospect Justus Sheffield and two other minor league prospects, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams and right-handed pitcher Erik Swanson.
Paxton, who turned 30 this month, went 11-6 in 28 starts last season with a 3.76 ERA. His 208 strikeouts ranked ninth in the American League.
He immediately joins a starting rotation that currently consists of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and newly resigned, CC Sabathia. Despite the addition of Paxton, an ace type starter, Cashman and the Yankees are not done. Another top of the line starter is likely to be added this off-season, and there are options.
Another ace level starter, Patrick Corbin, has been linked as a possible Yankee target. He would seem to be a great fit for the organization. Other free agent options are Dallas Keuchel, Nathan Eovaldi, and J.A. Happ. The Yankees have also been linked to other trade candidates including the Indians’ Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco.
If there is a concern on Paxton’s resume, it is his injury history. Last season, the power-armed lefty missed five weeks – three with back inflammation and two after a line drive nailed his left forearm. He missed two months in 2017 with forearm and pectoral strains; two weeks in 2016 after taking a line drive off the elbow; nearly four months in 2015 with a left finger tendon strain; and four months in 2014 due to a lat strain.
Paxton has gone on record saying he’s learned from each injury and believes he is better equipped to prevent them. Cashman and the Yankees must feel the same. The off-season plan is in motion for the Yankees.
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