The Yankees Strike First
In what has been anticipated as one of the biggest offseasons in not just MLB history but in sports history, the New York Yankees strike first. Granted its the free agent class in which we are all expecting big deals, it’s via trade which ends up being the first big deal. The New York Yankees acquire LHP James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for 3 prospects headlined by New York’s number 1 prospect in Justus Sheffield. The other 2 prospects included in the trade were RHP Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams.
Now obviously James Paxton is a big addition for the New York Yankees, or any team for that matter. He automatically becomes the ace for the Yanks(I’m sorry but Severino is way to inconsistent to lead any team), and that’s even if they add Patrick Corbin this off season as well. At this point in time, the Yankees pitching staff looks to be Paxton, Severino, Tanaka and Sabathia and Gray. But it’s been highly speculated that the Yankees are looking to deal Sonny Gray and potentially add another top starter such as Corbin. Starting pitching has been the downfall of the Yankees the last few seasons and this move definitely makes them better. The biggest questions coming out of this trade is can Paxton stay healthy and did the Yankees give up too much for him?
James Paxton has a career ERA of 3.42 but the biggest concern has to be getting a full season out of him. At 30 years old, Paxton has only pitched more than 140 inning once, and that was this past season when he pitched 160 innings. If Paxton is going to justify his price tag and be the ace the Yankees need, he is definitely going to need to stay healthy and throw 180+ innings or at the very least be 100% come playoff time. As mentioned the Yankees had to part with their number 1 prospect who is also the number 31 ranked prospect in the MLB. Justus Sheffield is a 22 year old LHP who had impressive numbers at the AA and AAA levels this season. Regardless of how Sheffield turns out as a player, the Yankees are in a win now mode and this is just the first of move in their chase of the Red Sox and a World Series title.