By: Billy Lewis
The New York Yankees made the first big splash of the offseason. Monday evening the Yankees traded for Mariners ace James Paxton. In exchange, the Yankees sent prospects Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson, and Don Thompson-Williams to Seattle.
Paxton finished 2018 at 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA. He also threw 160.1 innings, which was the most in his career. Paxton’s 2018 was highlighted early on when the “Big Maple” no-hit the Blue Jays in May. Paxton turned 30 earlier in November and will not become a free-agent until 2021.
Sheffield is the top prospect heading the Mariners’ way. Sheffield finished the season in the Bronx as a September call-up. He appeared in three games, all out of the bullpen, ending with a 10.13 ERA. In AAA Sheffield was 6-4 with a 2.56 ERA.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has made pitching a priority going into 2019. Free Agents like Patrick Corbin and J.A Happ are likely still at the top of the Yankees wish list. If the price is right, I can see the Yankees bringing in Corbin.
Paxton only faced the Red Sox once in 2018. It was not a start to write home about, as he allowed six runs in 2.1 innings. However, in 2017 Paxton went seven shutout innings against the Sox striking out ten.
The Yankees would have a solid first three starters if the season started today. They would roll out a rotation of Luis Severino, Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka. I’m sure Cashman isn’t done and the Yankees will still be able to add another high end starting pitcher to bring into 2019.