Seattle Mariners: James Paxton Trade Proposal, New York Edition
As the Seattle Mariners continue to work the phones to find the best offer they can for their ace James Paxton, we continue a look at what they may be willing to accept in return.
Yesterday, we looked for a trade between the Mariners and Phillies, and today we take a look at another east coast fit, the New York Yankees. While seeing The Big Maple in pinstripes may be painful to some fans, they are without question, a fit as a trade partner for Seattle.
The Yankees have a deep farm system, as well as a handful of young players with MLB seasoning. They have a need for starting pitching and a willingness to part ways with their younger pieces.
When looking for a trade with the Yankees, there are several potential starting points. If the Mariners want to have an MLB piece back in the deal, a few options are Sonny Gray, Greg Bird, Miguel Andujar, and Clint Frazier.
Of those 4, Andujar seems the least likely. After a brief cup of coffee in 2017, Andujar put on a show in his rookie season, slashing .297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs and 92 RBI. With 5 years of club control remaining and no replacement on hand, moving Andujar doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Yankees. Andujar is a horrific defender as well.
Perhaps the next least likely player in Greg Bird. Bird was a star in the 2014 Arizona Fall League, who rocketed up prospect ranks, and made his debut in 2015 with a bang. In his first 46 games with the big club, Bird slashed .261/.343/.529 with 11 home runs.
Since then, a string of injuries and poor play have knocked the luster off Bird, and he is now seen as expendable. Bird makes some sense for the Mariners as a secondary piece, but should not be the headliner or even second biggest piece.
Sonny Gray is intriguing because he helps fill the hole left by trading Paxton and can be used as a trade chip this winter or in July. Gray is just a 1-year fix but has still shown to be a very capable #3 type of starter. If the Mariners want to compete in 2019, then Gray makes some sense as a secondary player.
Perhaps the most obvious fit in this whole discussion is Clint Frazier. Frazier is a prestigious prospect with a power and the hit tool that should excite any fan. Frazier hasn’t broken out for the Yankees, and now has a history of concussions to worry about. They have depth on the roster in the OF, making Frazier a bit expendable.
In terms of prospects, the Yankees have a veritable haul to choose from. Chief among them may be Justus Sheffield, an LHP who had the smallest cup of coffee with the big team in 2018. Sheffield has a plus fastball and slider, with an above-average changeup to boot. Sheffield needs to refine his control but misses bats at an excellent clip. Sheffield may be off-limits, but will definitely be a name that is discussed by both sides.
Estavan Florial may have the most upside of any Yankees prospect but is at least 2 years away from the big leagues. Florial has the double plus speed and a plus arm. There is a lot of power in his bat and he can take a walk. There are some questions if he can make enough contact to hit for an average, but he is exactly the type of prospect the Mariners lack.
With all that in mind, here is our proposal:
The proposed deal allows the Yankees to land their #2 starter behind Luis Severino while not having to give up their 3 best prospects. The Mariners land their potential LF of the future for 5 years, a Paxton replacement with trade value, a potential #3 starter with upside, and a high floor, low ceiling back-end starting prospect.
If the Mariners aren’t demanding 2019 help, Estevan Florial could very well end up in the deal, perhaps in place of Clint Frazier, while potentially eliminating Gray and adding another prospect to the deal.
Be on the lookout for the Mariners to try and shed Dee Gordon‘s contract in the Paxton trade. The Yankees actually need a middle infielder, but if the addition of Gordon affects the overall package, the Mariners will be better off keeping Dee out of the trade.
It sounds like the Mariners may be close to completing a Paxton trade. It will be interesting to see what type of deal they make. Until then, let’s all have fun with speculation, so we can mourn the loss of The Big Maple when it happens.