Breaking: Yankees acquire LHP James Paxton in exchange for LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson, and OF Dom Thompson-Williams
The Yankees have made their first splash of the offseason by acquiring the Big Maple, James Paxton, from the Seattle Mariners. Fresh off his second-consecutive season at the top of the Mariner’s rotation, Paxton did not come cheap as the Yankees traded away their top prospect, Justus Sheffield, along with breakout prospects Erik Swanson and Dominic Thompson-Williams.
Paxton dealt with injuries throughout his mid 20’s but has finally been able to toss at least 136 innings over the past two seasons. He has a career 3.42 ERA and posted 208 strikeouts in only 160.1 innings in 2018. When healthy, Paxton is a top-of-the-rotation arm who can be a workhorse for his staff. Paxton will join Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka as the Yankees’ frontline starters. Paxton is under contract until 2021 and is set to receive a pay raise from his 4.9-million arbitration deal last year. However, even a slightly higher figure is a bargain for his type of production. Paxton gives the Yankees another dynamic pitcher whose arm does not have the typical mileage of a 30-year-old.
Sheffield, 22, is a tough player to part ways after his stellar 2018 campaign where he posted a 2.48 ERA in 116 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Sheffield, who was acquired in the trade that sent LHP Andrew Miller to Cleveland, was highly touted in the Yankees’ farm system, but the Yankees did hesitate to call him up during the summer months, when they struggled with pitching on their big-league team. There is no doubt that Sheffield could be a solid starter in Seattle, but the Yankees must have seen something in him that made them content with dealing him.
Swanson, 25, who was acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade, had his best minor league season to date in 2018. He was lights out in Double-A, posting a 0.42 ERA and a 11.6 K/9, and showed solid stuff in Scranton as well. He would have had to be protected from the Rule-5 draft, so with his chances of cracking the rotation or bullpen slim, the Yankees made him expendable.
Thompson-Williams, 23, is not ranked among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, but put together an outstanding season offensively between Charleston and Tampa in 2018. After never accumulating an OPS above .757 in the minors, Thompson-Williams put together a 20-20 season in 100 games. He slashed .299/.363/.546, and could become more than just a throw-in, if his 2018 performance is the type of player he projects to be.
Article by: Ryan Thoms
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