Paxton Trade: Passable or Pox?
The eagle has landed, but the M's just traded Tranquility Base
I keep going back and forth on the Seattle Mariners trading ace James Paxton to the hated New York Yankees.
- He's 30, and prone to injury, and one assumes after 30 it's a downhill slide.
- He just turned 30—November 6. And he actually pitched more the older he's gotten. Via The Athletic:
Season IP SO 2016 121 117 2017 136 156 2018 1601⁄3 208
- Sure, but, per Art Thiel, he hasn't exactly been a win machine. His career win total after six seasons in the bigs? 41. His season high? 12, in 2017. Here's an amazing stat from Thiel: "Paxton has 52 fewer career wins than rotation mate Mike Leake, also 30." Yikes!
- C'mon, you know M's fans had way more confidence when Paxton stepped on the mound than when Leake did. Plus wins are your dad's pitching stat. Other stats like ERA (3.42 career) and K/BB rate (617/168) matter more.
- Well, at least it's a direction for the M's. It's an obvious strategy. They're saying, "Yeah, it's not going to happen next year, kids. We're trading for the future."
- Well, "It's not going to happen next year, kids" is certainly something M's fans are used to.
- I know: longest active playoff drought in Major League Baseball. That's why we gotta shake things up!
- So we can get nauseous? Plus I liked Paxton. He was Big Maple: a tall, quiet, kinda goofy Canadian who pitched a no-hitter on Canadian soil, struck out 16 Athletics, and remained cool as a cucumber and tall as a tree when a pre-game ceremony in Minnesota went awry and an eagle landed on his shoulder. All of these are among my favorite moments from this past season.
- Which was just another season we didn't make the playoffs. And it's not going to get better in 2019.
- It will for the Yankees. Don't you remember your rule? Never trade with the New York Yankees. Never never never. You never help them. Never! See: Tino/Nellie for Sterlling/Russ.
- See: Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps.
- Ancient history. What about Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero?
- What about it? I don't think anyone came out on top there.
- Really? Pineda won 31 games for the Yankees.
- And he lost 31 games for them.
- But he accumulated 6.4 WAR.
- WAR schmore. You're nickel-and-diming.
- Please. You know what Montero's total WAR with the Mariners was? -0.9. That's a minus. In four seasons.
- The trade was a wash.
- In which we got cleaned.
- Oh, so clever.
- You should try it some time.
- Fuck you.
- Fuck you!
Bottom line: My heart is bummed, my head says going young is good if the deals are smart. The proviso is the issue. The M's haven't exactly been smart this century. Corey Brock's piece on the trade includes this sad paragraph:
Since 1998, Seattle has drafted and developed only two players who have a WAR (wins above replacement) of 10.0 or higher with the club: Seager (27.9) and Paxton (10.9). That’s by far the lowest mark among teams in the American League West, and certainly a contributing factor as to why the Mariners have not advanced to the postseason since 2001.
Jimmy, we hardly knew ye. I'd wish you well, but ... Yankees.
What's your take on the James Paxton-to-the-Yankees trade?