Yankees acquire James Paxton in trade with Mariners


Since 2014, Paxton has made 13, 13, 20, 24 and 28 starts, respectively, per season.

NY acquired James Paxton from the Mariners on Monday in exchange for left-hander Justus Sheffield, the organization's No. 1 pitching prospect, and minor league right-hander Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams.

"I've always enjoyed playing meaningful baseball", Paxton said.

The 30-year-old left-hander, who tossed a no-hitter on May 8 against the Toronto Blue Jays, joined the Yankees in exchange for minor-league pitchers Erik Swanson and Justus Sheffield and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams. He is a power pitcher and struck out 208 batters. Over parts of six seasons with the Mariners, he went 41-26 with a 3.42 ERA in 102 starts. He missed almost four months with a strained left latissimus dorsi muscle in 2014, 3½ months with a strained tendon in left middle finger in 2015, 10 days with a bruised left elbow in 2016, 3½ weeks with a strained left forearm and a month with a strained left pectoral muscle in 2017, and 2½ weeks with lower back inflammation this year. "The good news, so far, is all the injuries I've had haven't reoccurred. I've learned how to make sure those things don't happen again through exercise or whatever". When Paxton returned to the Mariners, he studied reading swings with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.

"I think my best baseball is still to come", Paxton said during the conference call. "The intensity. That's why I play the game".

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Why the Yankees did it: Looking to bolster a rotation that ranked fifth in the American League in ERA in 2018, the Yankees added one of the premier left-handed pitchers in the majors - and one of the few quality starters available on the trade market.

Paxton made $4.9 million last season and is eligible for salary arbitration.

Other free agent left-handers include Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, Drew Pomeranz, Wade Miley and Derek Holland.

Seattle chose to rebuild after going 89-73 and finishing third in the AL West, 14 games behind division-winning Houston and six back of Oakland. "I'm talking about high-end and elite, as close to elite as we can get".

Sheffield, 22, was considered by some to be the organization's top pitching prospect, but has yet to break through as a major league starter. His conditioning has been questioned, and his home run rate did spike from 0.6 per nine innings in 2017 to 1.3 in 2018, which largely explains the rise in ERA from 2.98 to 3.76.