Seattle Mariners: James Paxton Trade Profile, Be Creative With Lefty
The Mariners trade SP James Paxton to the Brewers for OF Keon Broxton and SP Corbin Burnes
The immediate return for the Mariners is an MLB-ready center fielder in Keon Broxton.
Broxton is still looked on as a raw, high-ceiling talent going into his age-29 season, but his time could be running out in Milwaukee, as he hasn’t hit much in the majors (93 wRC+) over almost 800 plate appearances and is out of minor league options.
He projects quite well as a fourth outfielder, but in a deal for James Paxton, he should be on the table. That is particularly true as the Mariners may covet him in trade talks.
Broxton has four years of control left and is a great, perhaps elite, defender in center field. He takes his walks (10.9% career BB%), mixes great power (.200 ISO) with speed (29.7 ft/s sprint speed), and has actually hit LHPs well in the majors (111 wRC+) which is an area of the Mariners’ lineup that could use a boost.
If acquired, he would likely be handed the starting center field job.
MLB Comp: Keon Broxton at this point but maybe Melvin Upton Jr. (B.J. Upton era)
No offense to Broxton — starting pitcher Corbin Burnes (25) is the obvious headliner for the Mariners here.
Burnes was a top-50 prospect for Milwaukee and their #2 prospect coming into 2018. He eventually exhausted his prospect status as he shined in the majors during both the regular season and postseason, but he did so as a reliever.
Scouts have long recognized the possibility of this move, but the Brewers definitely haven’t settled on it, as they will have Burnes work as a starter again in 2019. However, he really struggled upon his promotion to AAA in 2018 when he posted a 4.96 ERA as a starter, but he and his bonkers spin rates may have had trouble adjusting to the thin air up in AAA Colorado Springs.
He carried a much more palatable 3.73 ERA in 41 IP as the visiting starter and his stuff looks as good as advertised. If acquired, he would have a shot to make the club out of spring training.
MLB Comp: (A healthy) Garrett Richards
I can’t justify asking for any more than this.
Keon Broxton probably isn’t worth anymore more than Mallex Smith in terms of trade value, but Burnes would easily be the best “prospect” dealt between this trade and those for Drew Smyly and Gerrit Cole despite seemingly taking a step back as a starter in 2018.
In that sense, I would categorize this more as a starting ask than a realistic return, but it is the kind of value that it might take to pry Paxton away from the Mariners in the event that they expect to grab a playoff spot in 2019.
Both Broxton and Burnes look like they have great floors as a high-quality fourth outfielder and late-inning reliever, respectively, and they pair them with obviously high ceilings. The Brewers have kept these guys around for a reason and would rightfully be hesitant to trade ten years of them for two years of a starter.
However, that’s the price you talk down from in order to line up James Paxton, Jimmy Nelson, and Jhoulys Chacin in 2019.
If Nelson and Chacin turn in something close to their most recent performances, that is a formidable top three and still leaves room for arms like Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, or any of 2018’s array of other options to step up.