Losing James Paxton would hurt. This return (unlikeliness notwithstanding) would make it hurt a whole lot less.
Swapping Paxton for Keon Broxton on the MLB roster is a definite downgrade, but Broxton comes with enough upside that dealing Paxton wouldn’t necessarily be waving an early white flag on the 2019 season. Trading him also frees up a projected $9 million that can pay dividends elsewhere on the roster.
Meanwhile, Corbin Burnes would immediately become the Mariners’ most promising under-25 starter by a mile.
My expectation though is that Jerry Dipoto holds onto his top starter even if met with a compelling trade simply for the fact that most of his other star players aren’t getting any better.
Robinson Cano is productive but aging. The best years of Mitch Haniger‘s career are in all likelihood occurring right now. Same goes for Jean Segura. The Mariners might be behind a handful of AL teams as they head into the offseason, but their best shot to be really good in the near future is probably right now and that may require holding on to James Paxton.