Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Yankees Trade is Just Awesome! 

James “Big Maple” Paxton is a awesome get for the Yanks, don’t believe me let’s talk this out.   Firstly Paxton a southpaw tossed a no-hitter last season, and appears to be on track to becoming one of baseball’s next great starting pitchers. He just turned 30 years old, and is in his second arbitration year. MLB Trade Rumors projects that Paxton will earn $9 million in arbitration this winter. (Maybe a little less) That is a steal!!!! He is due to become a free agent following the 2020 season, so the Yankees have him under team control for two full seasons. Paxton had an 3.76 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP over 160.1 innings for the Mariners in 2018. He struck out 11.7 batters per nine, while allowing only 1.3 home runs and 2.4 walks per nine. Hopefully those numbers stay the same in the Bronx.  Brian Cashman made it clear The Yankees’ where he’ll bent this winter is to upgrade the starting staff. That’s exactly what he did here. Although they have been connected to a number of free agents, well duh they are always are even when they are not, as well as trade candidates, the Bombers acquire Mariners ace James Paxton.Which should help to solidify the starting rotation. Paxton is a strikeout pitcher who is on a quick rise. Paxton made baseball history last May when he tossed a no-hitter against the Jays. (A EL East Team) He had 10-plus strikeout games 8 as well, including a career-high 16 in May against the Athletics. (Our Wildcard Foes). For 9 million which will most likely be saved when Gray is traded this is an awesome pick up that allows the Yankees to still go big game hunting. 🤔🤔

Let’s G⚾️ Yankees!! 


MLB Pipeline's Top 10 Yankees Prospects

Luis Medina

Most notably... no Chance Adams. Ouch.

OF Estevan Florial RHP Jonathan Loaisiga RHP Albert Abreu RHP Domingo Acevedo C Anthony Seigler RHP Clarke Schmidt RHP Trevor Stephan RHP Luis Medina RHP Matt Sauer RHP Garrett Whitlock

Call Me Crazy, But How About Sonny Gray (Plus, Plus, Plus) for Joey Votto

Call me crazy, but since money is “no object” anymore wouldn’t it make sense for the New York Yankees to make a run at first baseman Joey Votto? I don’t mean to downplay the money, it’s a ton of money and Brian Cashman and company have already said they aren’t going to blow up the payroll, but they also said they would spend what they had to in order to win. Getting Votto makes the Yankees not only better, but absolutely dangerous in an unfair kind of way. The Reds presumably would be willing to pay down some of that contract, or take lesser prospects if the Yankees ate the entire contract, so it only makes sense with a potential Sonny Gray trade looming between these two clubs.

Let’s be frank, this would be a huge undertaking for the New York Yankees if a trade were to happen. Votto is signed through the 2023 season with a team option for the 2024 season worth roughly $132 million. Now, some may say this is crazy because the Yankees have cheaper options in Luke Voit and Greg Bird, but I would beg to argue that point. Voit was a 27-year old (basically) career minor league player for a reason. The Yankees took advantage of a hot streak and rode him into the postseason, nothing more. There is nothing that says that Voit will be anything more or anything less than the next Shane Spencer for the club. Prove me wrong, I would thoroughly enjoy seeing it… but I don’t think that he will. Adding a proven veteran left-handed bat to a young and heavy right-handed lineup just makes sense for New York, and it would cost them a lot less than signing Bryce Harper for 10-years and $300 million+ just to learn the position. It’s simple math really, 5-years and $125 million for Votto with a $20 million team option for a sixth season or a $7 million buyout, or a 10-year mega-contract for Bryce Harper.

Now, I fully realize that Bryce Harper is 26-years old, while Votto is 36-years old near the end of the 2019 season, but Votto is still incredibly productive and would be moving to a league where he could eventually play more and more designated hitter. Votto hits for power from the left side, he hits with runners in scoring position, he hits for average, hell the guy probably gets out of bed in the morning and hits something. He just hits.

Would the deal be risky? Sure, having someone signed through their “decline” years is always risky, but this is a win-now team, and this is a win-now move. This deal would not hamstring the Yankees, but of course it would come with some sort of risk and fallout if Father Time were to catch up to Votto soon. If the Yankees could swing a deal including Sonny Gray, obviously not straight up… but as a part of a package, I think you have to do it and worry about his age 38-41 seasons then, not now.

My Thoughts on the James Paxton Acquisition

In case you have been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, the New York Yankees acquired left-handed starter James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners for LHP prospect Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson and outfield prospect Dom Thompson-Williams. Here are my thoughts on the trade, for what they are worth.

My initial thought process was one of a bit of confusion. I didn’t immediately love the trade, but at the same time I didn’t exactly hate the trade either. I am a prospect humper, deal with it, but at the same time I understand that nine times out of a ten that a trade is supposed to hurt. As a prospect humper, this trade hurt… and that makes me optimistic for the future.

Is Paxton the ace that the Yankees “need” this offseason? Probably not, not as it stands today anyway, but the fact of the matter is… he could be. Health concerns aside, which you have with any pitcher, Paxton is entering his prime as a starting pitcher. Sometimes it takes pitchers a little longer to figure it out, health wise, than others. AJ Burnett is a great example of this. While his statistics in New York were not anything to write home about, he had seemingly turned the corner into his 30’s and learned how to build up his body to pitch an entire 162-game schedule. There’s no reason that Paxton cannot do the same.

Losing Sheffield sucks but I do understand that some scouts have been down on him lately. He has a small frame, which scares most talent evaluators, and his control has been suspect at times. I would have loved to have seen Justus figure it out in the Bronx, but I understand that he needed to be included in the deal to get it done. If the Yankees didn’t include Justus then we would be reading about Paxton wearing a Houston Astros uniform right now, and after the Justin Verlander and Gerritt Cole debacles that was just not an option. Losing Swanson also sucks, but he needed to be protected on the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft and I honestly felt like there were too many arms ahead of him on the depth chart to warrant his protection. Lose him in a Paxton trade, or lose him for nothing next month. I’ll go with the former. Thompson-Williams, no offense, is a throw-in in the deal in my opinion.

The trade for Paxton hurt, but it made the Yankees starting rotation a whole lot better. Paxton, at worst, can slide into the middle of the Yankees rotation alongside Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka. At best, the Yankees got an ace for the price of a #2 starter. Adding Patrick Corbin to this rotation would only make the starting five that much better, and that idea excites me. As a prospect humper the deal has me worried, but as a Yankees fan this deal has me excited for the 2019 season. Go Yankees!

Yankees Acquire James Paxton...

Photo by Christian Petersen
Top Prospect Justus Sheffield joins the ranks of “former” Yankees…

The news broke suddenly yesterday afternoon. After a fairly quiet November (up to that point, the only significant MLB trade had been Seattle’s catcher Mike Zunino to the Tampa Bay Rays as the start of Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto’s “re-imagining” of his roster), reports came hard and fast like a James Paxton four-seam fastball that the Yankees had acquired the talented lefty from Seattle.  

My initial reaction was ‘it’s a start, but we need more’. I didn’t expect the Yankees to lose Miguel Andujar in a trade for the much talked about trade speculation involving the 6’4” Big Maple and fortunately he was not involved. For a frontline ace like Corey Kluber, you’d part with the young third baseman but not for Paxton. 

Photo by Al Bello, Getty Images

When it was announced the Yankees had sent top prospect Justus Sheffield, breakout minor league starter Erik Swanson, and rising minor league outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams to Seattle for Paxton, Yankee fans were immediately trying to find flaws in the prospects sent to the Northwest. I am not going to join the crowd and trash Sheffield. The fact remains he is only 22 and still has an excellent chance to be a difference-maker. For a team that is prepared to win in 2019, this is a trade that makes sense. Paxton makes the Yankees better when they step back on the grounds of Yankee Stadium next year. Sheffield is probably a few seasons away from reaching his potential. This is totally a ‘win now’ move.  

The Yankees also needed to make room on the 40-man roster for Swanson or he would have been eligible for next month’s Rule 5 Draft so this saves a spot for someone else.  

So where do we go from here? I really hope the Yankees continue their pursuit of free agent lefty Patrick Corbin. He was and continues to be my top choice. I’d love to have Corey Kluber but I don’t really expect the Cleveland Indians to trade their ace without asking for a King’s ransom. Admittedly, I will be disappointed if the Yankees sign J.A. Happ to fill the last spot in the rotation. Happ was great during his short time as a Yankee last year, but as a long-term piece, let’s say I would be a little underwhelmed. I would have been fine with Happ to go with Corbin, but not paired with Paxton who carries injury risk. I know, all pitchers carry injury risk. It’s the nature of the beast, but Paxton has consistently missed time over the last few years.  

If the Yankees are successful in signing Corbin, the newcomers, along with Masahiro Tanaka, will certainly ease some pressure off Luis Severino to be “the man”.  I suppose it’s not out of the question for the Yankees to sign both Corbin and Happ. Last year proved, once again, you can never have too many starters.  Personally, I preferred signing Happ over long-time Yank CC Sabathia for the back end of the rotation. But regardless, you know that one or more starters in the rotation will miss time for various ailments and the Yankees need to be prepared. I really hope we’re not facing more rollouts of Luis Cessa to fill those spots. Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga and Chance Adams will have every opportunity to help, I am sure, but I hope we’re not leaning on those guys in multiple spots like we were at times last season.  

Seattle fans seem to be taking the trade in stride. I think they realized that their team was mired in mediocrity in a division with some very strong teams. They have a few players with bloated contracts like Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez, and Kyle Seager. I have always loved Cano but the back half of his huge contract is not going to be pretty for the 36-year old. I am glad the Yankees were able to acquire Paxton without having to take on any of unmovable contracts. The M’s can use the young pieces received in the Zunino and Paxton trades to position themselves for 2021 or so. I read one Seattle columnist who said Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto basically had the choice of getting punched in the mouth or hit by a truck. He chose the former.  

I fully expect Domingo German to give up #65 for Paxton. It’s not exactly like German is married to the number. I believe Jonathan Holder was wearing the number at the start of last season until he opted for a lower number in the 50’s.  The number still reminds me of Phil Hughes but no doubt, in time, Paxton can make it his own.

There may be minor moves made today as teams finalize their 40-man rosters for Rule 5 eligibility next month. I doubt we’ll see anything as major as the Paxton trade, but there’s always a chance for the inevitable Sonny Gray trade now that his spot in the rotation has been filled. Otherwise, I expect the remainder of the week to be fairly quiet with no significant moves until we get past the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.  

Paxton is the first step toward the enhancement of the 2019 Yankees (if you don’t count the re-signings of Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia). Multiple moves remain necessary before this team is ready to take down the Boston Red Sox. Another starter, at least two more for the bullpen, and an interim solution at shortstop. Yet, my excitement for February is building. It only gets better from here.  

As always, Go Yankees!