Yankees acquire James Paxton for Justus Sheffield and two lower prospects

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Very good deal for the Yankees. I do think the durability concerns are legitimate. Its not just that he has had a lot of small injuries. Its also that, having never pitched 170 innings in a season in his career, nobody has any real clue how his arm will hold up if he happens to throw 200 next year. This would obviously be a big concern in the post-season. But even with these concerns they got two cost controlled years of a top 20-25ish starter in the league for a prospect that was good but not a worldbeater and a couple warm bodies.
 

Devizier

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Wait, what? This was a good move for Cash, but let's reel it in a bit here. Paxton is a good pitcher, but he put up a similar ERA to CC Sabathia last year in a pitchers' park and at 30 years old has never eclipsed 165 innings in his career. Sheffield isn't exactly garbage and is definitely a better/higher ceiling/less blocked prospect than Margot ever was.
I think he's referring to Anderson Espinoza.

The fact that no one talks about him anymore is proof positive of TINSTAAPP.
 

chawson

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Wouldn’t the better move be to sign both Corbin and Happ and keep Sheffield for the inevitable C.C. disables list stint?
Unless the Yankees don’t believe in Sheffield I suppose.
6 years of service for a starter Yankees fans have been drooling over and now it’s gone
Paxton is terrific when healthy and I'm honestly surprised the M's did this before Thanksgiving and didn't get a better package for him from the Brewers, Braves, or Astros or something. Cashman must have said Sheffield is only available for a limited time and otherwise he'd move on to other targets.

It's a good deal for the Yanks, but from a Sox perspective, these things stand out as silver linings:

- Like @StuckOnYouk, I had them pegged to sign both Corbin and Happ, which is very doubtful to happen now. We'll see how it plays out, but given Happ's relative dependabilty, the difference between a year of him and a year of Paxton may be a wash, and I don't think that gap is worth Sheffield.
- A better outcome for them would have been that Sheffield himself would have been ready for full-time duty by 2019. That didn't happen, and now they've lost four cost-controlled years of an asset (relative to Paxton's 2019-20).
- Another better outcome for them would have been that Sonny Gray was the #2 guy in their rotation (at least according to projections from mid-2017). We'll see what he fetches in return and I figure Cashman will get someone good, but it'll likely be a similarly distressed asset, someone under short-term control, or both.
- With the exception of Florial, the Yanks no longer have a clear farm system advantage over the Sox. That's good on its face, but it also means they won't necessarily have first crack at trade targets like Syndergaard, Snell, Carrasco, Taillon, or whomever else might be available.
- Paxton had a pretty mediocre finish to last year, with a 3.86 FIP and 1.85 HR/9 over his last 10 starts (against, admittedly, some pretty good lineups). Considering last year's 160 IP was his highest MLB innings total (he did throw 170 total IP in 2016), it's possible that Paxton isn't built to last a full season healthy and productive.
- Paxton's total HR/FB rate is 14.4%, which is 6th-highest among AL starters (higher than Porcello, even). Of course, looking at HR/FB ignores his excellent K rate, but it still might be worrisome for him going forward.
 

crow216

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- With the exception of Florial, the Yanks no longer have a clear farm system advantage over the Sox. That's good on its face, but it also means they won't necessarily have first crack at trade targets like Syndergaard, Snell, Carrasco, Taillon, or whomever else might be available.
.
I don't think this is true. We'll see when the dust settles this offseason because who cares in November, but right now the Yankees still have plenty of assets in the farm, just none that are banging on the door. Abreu will be back this year and is looking good, (https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/albert-abreu-looks-as-good-as-new/), German, Frazier, Adams, Florial....Jon could do a more in-depth post here but I think rumors of the farm's demise are being overstated.
 

mt8thsw9th

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I thought this was tremendous for the Yankees, then I actually saw his numbers. He's really, really going to tax the bullpen. Even when he's on he's only good for 5 and change. Factoring CC, their staff has zero people capable of giving 200 innings unless Severino makes that leap. Another guy who will add to a stable of starters that require four innings out of the bullpen every night. He's the best they could get for their top prospect?
 

crow216

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I thought this was tremendous for the Yankees, then I actually saw his numbers. He's really, really going to tax the bullpen. Even when he's on he's only good for 5 and change. Factoring CC, their staff has zero people capable of giving 200 innings unless Severino makes that leap. Another guy who will add to a stable of starters that require four innings out of the bullpen every night. He's the best they could get for their top prospect?
He averaged 5.7 IP per start. If you take away the 0.1 start where he was hit by a line drive, that goes up to 5.9 avg. If you have something to backup that he's a 5 inning pitcher every night, I'm all ears, otherwise, 2/3 of his starts were 6+. Chris Sale was 5.9 last year as well, including the September starts where he was being worked back into the rotation. Not arguing that Sale isn't a bigger work horse, but just showing the comparable.

For referece: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=paxtoja01&t=p&year=2018
 

Wingack

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I thought this was tremendous for the Yankees, then I actually saw his numbers. He's really, really going to tax the bullpen. Even when he's on he's only good for 5 and change. Factoring CC, their staff has zero people capable of giving 200 innings unless Severino makes that leap. Another guy who will add to a stable of starters that require four innings out of the bullpen every night. He's the best they could get for their top prospect?
Fun fact: Only 25 pitchers pitches 190 innings last year. Let’s not act like it’s the 1970’s anymore.
 

chawson

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I thought this was tremendous for the Yankees, then I actually saw his numbers. He's really, really going to tax the bullpen. Even when he's on he's only good for 5 and change. Factoring CC, their staff has zero people capable of giving 200 innings unless Severino makes that leap. Another guy who will add to a stable of starters that require four innings out of the bullpen every night. He's the best they could get for their top prospect?
Paxton's durability questions aside, I think that's just the way baseball's going. Fewer starters throw 200 innings every year, a number that has dropped pretty dramatically over the last three years.

2018 - 13 SP >200 IP
2017 - 15
2016 - 15
2015 - 28
2014 - 34
2013 - 36
2012 - 31
2011 - 39
2010 - 45
 

mt8thsw9th

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He averaged 5.7 IP per start. If you take away the 0.1 start where he was hit by a line drive, that goes up to 5.9 avg. If you have something to backup that he's a 5 inning pitcher every night, I'm all ears, otherwise, 2/3 of his starts were 6+. Chris Sale was 5.9 last year as well, including the September starts where he was being worked back into the rotation. Not arguing that Sale isn't a bigger work horse, but just showing the comparable.

For referece: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=paxtoja01&t=p&year=2018
Sale also had a WAR double his, and Paxton's best is worse than Sale's career worst. They aren't comps by any stretch.

And the innings thing is a bit disingenuous given that Sale has been closer to 7 innings his entire career, and that this year is an extreme outlier, unless you know something about Sale's health that the rest of us don't.

Sale is a dependable ace. Paxton plays one for about 130-160 innings a year. I'm not saying he's bad, just that he's good depth that will always need someone following him for an inning or two. Maybe it will be fine. I just don't care to bet on it given his durability issues.
 

crow216

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Sale also had a WAR double his, and Paxton's best is worse than Sale's career worst. They aren't comps by any stretch.

And the innings thing is a bit disingenuous given that Sale has been closer to 7 innings his entire career, and that this year is an extreme outlier, unless you know something about Sale's health that the rest of us don't.

Sale is a dependable ace. Paxton plays one for about 130-160 innings a year. I'm not saying he's bad, just that he's good depth that will always need someone following him for an inning or two. Maybe it will be fine. I just don't care to bet on it given his durability issues.
This is moving the goal posts AND creating a straw man. I'm not arguing that he is Chris Sale. I'm arguing that Paxton is not a 5 inning pitcher and whatever he was last year, from a length perspective, was similar to Chris Sale.
 

curly2

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And one thing that could be a silver lining is Paxton's career ERA splits: 2.98 ERA at Safeco vs. 3.87 on the road -- despite (surprisingly) giving up more homers at Safeco.

Still, he'll probably be really good for the Yankees.
 

maufman

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I think they are getting Corbin too for what it is worth. Especially since Paxton is so affordable.
It’s what I’d do if I were in Cashman’s shoes.

The counterargument, I suppose, is that Machado and (especially) Harper are much more likely than Corbin to still be stars in 2022 or 2023, when the MFY might be thinking about dipping below the CBT threshold again (assuming the rules haven’t changed radically by then). Having $25mm in dead money committed to a washed-up Corbin, at a time when the current young guys will be due to get paid, could be a bad situation.

Even if you buy that reasoning, however, I don’t think Cashman has enough job security not to be focused primarily on 2019. Investing in starting pitching is his best bet to beat the Red Sox next season.
 

Wingack

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It’s what I’d do if I were in Cashman’s shoes.

The counterargument, I suppose, is that Machado and (especially) Harper are much more likely than Corbin to still be stars in 2022 or 2023, when the MFY might be thinking about dipping below the CBT threshold again (assuming the rules haven’t changed radically by then). Having $25mm in dead money committed to a washed-up Corbin, at a time when the current young guys will be due to get paid, could be a bad situation.

Even if you buy that reasoning, however, I don’t think Cashman has enough job security not to be focused primarily on 2019. Investing in starting pitching is his best bet to beat the Red Sox next season.
I don't think it is an either or situation. Paxton really doesn't make that much and depending on what the Sonny Gray deal looks like it could all come out to about even.

I think they go nab Corbin and go hard at Machado. They have the money to play with and the need.
 

maufman

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I don't think it is an either or situation. Paxton really doesn't make that much and depending on what the Sonny Gray deal looks like it could all come out to about even.

I think they go nab Corbin and go hard at Machado. They have the money to play with and the need.
I’m assuming Corbin will fetch at least Jon Lester money. Does Cashman have enough budget to cover that on top of whatever egregious contract Machado gets?
 

terrynever

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This is moving the goal posts AND creating a straw man. I'm not arguing that he is Chris Sale. I'm arguing that Paxton is not a 5 inning pitcher and whatever he was last year, from a length perspective, was similar to Chris Sale.
Who is Chris Sale at this point. Almost every ace pitcher is vulnerable to injury or fatigue?
 

crow216

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Who is Chris Sale at this point. Almost every ace pitcher is vulnerable to injury or fatigue?
Right. Kluber would come with risk as well. I don't want to start a war on SOSH but I don't think anyone knows what they can expect from Sale next year at this point from a velo perspective and nobody knows the extent of that shoulder injury.
 

crow216

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Like Sheffield was in his cameo last year?
Can we call them the Three Kings?
Obviously they aren't true rotation options or we wouldn't be in the hunt for another starter. However, between the three of them, they could absolutely step in to fill temporary rotation spots should CC or Paxton go down.

Besides, the Yankees are going to have such a large first place cushion by May that it won't matter if someone gets hurt.

::runs away::
 

Wingack

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Obviously they aren't true rotation options or we wouldn't be in the hunt for another starter. However, between the three of them, they could absolutely step in to fill temporary rotation spots should CC or Paxton go down.

Besides, the Yankees are going to have such a large first place cushion by May that it won't matter if someone gets hurt.

::runs away::
Montgomery is a legit option in the second half. I think we all forget how good he was in 2017. Do I want him starting an elimination game? No. But he can definitely help fill out the rotation in the second half of the season (assuming he is healthy.)
 

jon abbey

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Wow, I missed a lot here again. A few things:

This is NY's rotation plan for this year (ignore the order of the first four as that will work itself out over the course of the season):

Severino
Paxton
???
Tanaka
Sabathia

In AAA: King, Loaisiga, German

Ready sometime midseason maybe-Montgomery

The last rotation spot will very likely be a FA, Corbin or Happ if NY deems Corbin's price too absurd. What this Paxton deal does gives them flexibility in not having to sign two FA starters, so they are in much better position there.

Innings concerns: NY has the guys to fill in when people go down, King threw 180 innings last year and is probably more ready than Sheffield to help right now if needed. Loaisiga and German both showed flashes of effectiveness last year in the bigs (Loaisiga with a 5.1 1 0 0 2 8 against PHI, German with a 6 0 0 0 2 9 against CLE in his first start). NY could do what the Dodgers have done the last couple seasons and use the DL to shuttle in some of these guys over the course of the year to keep everyone fresh.
 

Plympton91

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I think he's referring to Anderson Espinoza.

The fact that no one talks about him anymore is proof positive of TINSTAAPP.
Why would I be referencing Espinoza in a Kimbrel trade? The Sox gave up 2 good prospects in that plus a guy who was likely to have a career as a utility player (and has). The Yankees gave up Sheffield and 2 placeholders.
 

jon abbey

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Also NY is still going to spend a ton in the FA market, it's just a question of on who. They quite possibly prefer Paxton for 2019/2020 to any of the FA possibilities, and there are question marks about Sheffield so he is not a sure thing either (although I think he will thrive in SEA).
 

jon abbey

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Why would I be referencing Espinoza in a Kimbrel trade? The Sox gave up 2 good prospects in that plus a guy who was likely to have a career as a utility player (and has). The Yankees gave up Sheffield and 2 placeholders.
Erik Swanson isn't a placeholder, if you read the Fangraphs article on this trade, they like him maybe more than Sheffield. There's a good chance both will be in SEA's rotation by June. Linking this again:

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-yankees-now-have-a-second-ace/
 

jon abbey

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Wouldn’t the better move be to sign both Corbin and Happ and keep Sheffield for the inevitable C.C. disables list stint?
Unless the Yankees don’t believe in Sheffield I suppose.
6 years of service for a starter Yankees fans have been drooling over and now it’s gone
I think some of this is about guys like Michael King and Loaisiga are deemed by NY to be more ready to help right now, and Sheffield was at peak trade value, but also I think they really like Paxton especially given the alternatives. Sheffield has a better pedigree than Chance Adams (1st round draft pick) but Adams dominated in the minors including AAA through 2017, pushed himself into the top 100 on most lists, but then fell back last season for whatever reason/s and is now not considered much of a commodity. Sheffield is younger and less of a risk there but NY likely wouldn''t have used him too much in the majors this year (his command is still a big issue) and there was the risk of him stalling and losing value.
 

crow216

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From this article

Paxton ranks near the top of the leaderboard in nearly every rate statistic that indicates pitcher dominance. Since his breakout 2017 season, Paxton ranks sixth in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (11.1) among pitchers who have thrown at least 150 innings, sixth in strikeout percentage minus walk percentage (23.8 percent) and eighth in wins above replacement per 200 innings (5.7) — a rough measure of what a healthy starting pitcher might provide over a full season — trailing starters Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Corey Kluber, Noah Syndergaard and Severino, plus reliever Blake Treinen, who got a lot of work in last year. In other words, the elite of the elite. He ranks seventh since 2017 in fielding-independent pitching (2.95), which is scaled like ERA but factors out how the defense affects pitchers’ stats, and 34th by a more traditional measure, ERA (3.40).

Also - I wasn't aware of this tidbit

The Yankees starters were fifth in WAR last season and tied for ninth in ERA-, which accounts for park effects and the league run environment. Paxton provides a massive upgrade from New York’s weakest link in Sonny Gray (5.26 ERA). The Yankees’ staff was already good, and now it might be great.
 

brs3

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Since Paxton has never thrown more than 160 innings(which would be more than any '18 Yankee not named Severino), I wonder if the Yankees will look to skip starts for him where necessary to ensure he's not wiped out by the time the postseason rolls around. If he looks at a full season plus the postseason, he could be an extra 20-40 innings.
 

jon abbey

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Since Paxton has never thrown more than 160 innings(which would be more than any '18 Yankee not named Severino), I wonder if the Yankees will look to skip starts for him where necessary to ensure he's not wiped out by the time the postseason rolls around. If he looks at a full season plus the postseason, he could be an extra 20-40 innings.
I think they will probably look to do this for most of the rotation, working in guys like Loaisiga and King and German and maybe Acevedo/Abreu, using the 10 day phantom DL frequently like the 2017 Dodgers did.
 

21st Century Sox

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Interesting headline for 538. How would they know that Paxton is "this offseasons best pitcher"? Both the Mets and Indians have indicated they might trade big. I am not saying that the Sox are in the mix for any of those studs, but I think you write that headline when all the dust has settled.....I get it, clickbait, but still.....