Remember how I said that sometimes tomorrow’s roster deadline spurs activity around the league, and sometimes that includes major moves that were already down the road a bit?
Well, I’m guessing that’s what just happened:
Source: James Paxton has been traded to the New York Yankees.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 19, 2018
The Mariners have signaled an intention to sell off some pieces as part of a rebuild (even if they’re not going to call it a rebuild), and Paxton is the kind of guy who could theoretically net a freaking haul from the Yankees’ loaded system. The 30-year-old lefty has a premium fastball, three straight years of excellent results, and is under control for two more years.
Thus, a top prospect and two other quality parts is the return:
Paxton deal to Yankees is for Sheffield, OF Don Thompson-Williams and RHP Erik Swanson.
— Corey Brock (@CoreyBrockMLB) November 19, 2018
Justus Sheffield is the Yankees’ top prospect, and 31st in the game, according to MLB Pipeline, but I think most folks are going to call this an “underwhelming” return. Still, it’s not like Paxton has always been totally healthy, so maybe it’s fair.
In any case, this could help spur the free agent pitching market, now that Paxton is off the board (and it sets up the Yankees to be aggressive there, knowing that they have Paxton locked in for relatively cheap). The Cubs won’t be involved there, but the trickling effects are always a possibility. Moreover, maybe this spurs the Mariners to do more selling, and the Cubs have been connected to Dee Gordon, though I know that’s not an especially enticing possibility unless it’s a very carefully crafted trade.
This move also gets the Yankees one of the two starting pitchers they want without a huge free agent commitment, which could leave them even more flexibility – not just for that other starting pitcher, but overall in the free agent market. I expect the Manny Machado rumors to persist and intensify.
I’m sure we’ll have more on this as the market impacts shake loose.