The New York Yankees coming into the offseason made their intentions on what their priorities should be very clear. They needed to tune up their starting rotation. It started with the resigning of CC Sabathia to another one-year deal and now they made their first real move for the 2019 baseball season. They traded their number one prospect in Justus Sheffield to the Seattle Mariners for a left-handed starting pitcher by the name of James Paxton.
Paxton will be entering his age 30 season and is under contract until 2021. He is quite a talented pitcher with great potential; here is a look at his career at the Major League level so far:
Paxton has started over 100 games at the Major League and even has a no-hitter under his belt; so, he should be more than experienced enough to be a staple in a starting rotation at this point. The question always is the pressure playing for the New York Yankees too much? No one will know the answer to that for sure until at least the 2019 campaign is well under way. He has played for the Seattle Mariners the entirety of his career who have not made the postseason since 2001, so it could be a tough transition to a team who makes the postseason and has World Series aspirations year after year. Again, it could work out fine for the Yankees.
The real concern regarding Paxton should be his health. He has never thrown close to 200 innings in a single season and has been on and off the disabled list since 2014. Considering the Yankees gave up their number one prospect, a starting pitcher no less, for him it makes one wonder if they can rely on someone who has averaged only 24 starts per season the last three years. That many starts may sound a lot to the average baseball fan, but when it comes down to it, they are missing almost two months-worth of time and anything can happen in that period standings wise. At this point the Yankees are banking on Paxton staying healthy and being on the mound for them every fifth day. If that is the case, then it could be crucial for their success going forward.
What might be next for the Yankees? They made it quite clear that they have every intention of trading away Sonny Gray and one would guess that would be the next move they make. Perhaps resigning J.A. Happ could be possible or even going as far as making a bigger splash by putting their hat in the mix of the Corey Kluber trade rumblings that have been going on so far this offseason.
The fact of the matter is that pitching is the Yankees’ number one priority and while trading James Paxton is a nice start, they are still not quite finished. They are one move away from having their starting rotation set for the 2019 season and a lot of time on their hands; so the baseball world will have to wait and see.