We have reached hot stove season in full now. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Seattle Mariners are strongly considering a full blowup of their 89-win team, and purposefully pivoting towards a rebuild of a weak farm system. To that end, it sure sounds like left-handed ace James Paxton could be made available.
Paxton is coming off two incredible seasons in the Pacific Northwest, posting a 2.98 ERA and 2.61 FIP in 2017 and 3.76/3.24 marks in 2018. He strikes batters out at roughly the same rate as Luis Severino and doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2020 season. Brian Cashman has already been adamant that his team needs multiple pitchers, and if a deal could be swung for Paxton, you’d have to consider the offseason a very early success.
The news comes just behind the rumors of Cleveland’s impending semi-selloff, as the team is expected to make Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco available to the right trade partner. Jon Heyman is reporting the Yankees are already meeting with Cleveland’s brass today, subject unknown. It looks like the market for pitching is shaping itself rapidly.
Competition between Seattle and Cleveland for top-flight pitchers is good news for the Yankees. As the supply of top-of-rotation guys increases, the relative price for each pitcher should drop, and also provide a backup plan should another team in the market for pitching swoop in with a better offer for one of Kluber, Carrasco and Paxton. The Yankees don’t have the farm system they did a couple of seasons ago, but the pieces could still be there for a major deal.
For now, there’s nothing concrete in Seattle’s plans, but stay tuned. If the team decides to tear it down and make their ace available, we’ll have all the coverage you need.