After an underwhelming first few weeks to the MLB offseason, the New York Yankees got things cooking on the hot stove and traded for Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports was the first to break the news.
Paxton, 30, pitched to a 3.76 earned-run average (3.23 FIP) in 28 starts last season (160.1 innings), racking up 208 strikeouts, walking 42, 1.098 WHIP, and a 108 ERA+. The 6’4″ left-hander didn’t reach the heights he did in 2017 (2.98 ERA, 140 ERA+), but he’s still one of the premier hurlers in the game today.
Paxton has been a bit injury-prone over the course of his career, making five trips to the disabled list since the beginning of the 2016 season for various ailments (left forearm issues, lower back, pectoral muscle), but that didn’t seem to stop the Yanks from parting with one of their most highly-valued prospects.
MLB Pipeline‘s fourth-rated MiLB left-handed pitcher, Justus Sheffield, was the centerpiece of the return for the Mariners. The 22-year-old Tennessee native made his MLB debut in September, allowing no runs over his first two appearances (1.2 innings) before getting tagged for three runs over a frame in his final outing on Sept 30.
Through five minor league seasons, Sheffield has a 3.08 ERA over 103 appearances (94 starts) with 9.4 strikeouts and 3.4 walks per nine innings, respectively, and a 1.292 WHIP. Last season he pitched to a 2.87 ERA in 25 outings (20 starts) between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Wilkes-Barre.
The Mariners will also be receiving two additional minor-leaguers in the deal, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams (.299/.363/.546 in 2018; Short Season-A and Advanced-A) and right-hander Erik Swanson (2.81 ERA in 24 appearances/22 starts between Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A).