I’ll admit it (I have to, since I think I wrote it several times): big lefty James Paxton was on my short list of buy-low, bounce-back, high-upside free agent targets for the Cubs this offseason. He was going to want a short-term deal to re-prove himself after a lost partial season in 2020, the cost wouldn’t be too large, and the upside was a 3-4 WAR pitcher, which he’d been for four straight years from 2016-19.
The Cubs did not seriously pursue Paxton as far as I was aware, opting instead for Trevor Williams and Jake Arrieta on one-year, bounce-back deals. Paxton ultimately signed with a team he knew well, getting almost as much as Williams and Arrieta did combined, $8.5 million from the Mariners.
Unfortunately, it’s possibly already over for him:
Tommy John surgery has been recommended for James Paxton. Would miss the year snd be back in 2022.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 8, 2021
Paxton will probably be one of those guys that a team tries to sign on a one-year-and-option deal in the offseason, knowing that he probably won’t contribute but for a half-season tops next year.