Seattle Mariners: 3 More Suitors for James Paxton

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 25: James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners reacts from the dugout in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins during their game at Safeco Field on May 25, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - MAY 25: James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners reacts from the dugout in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins during their game at Safeco Field on May 25, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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HOUSTON ASTROS

SEATTLE, WA – JULY 31: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros connects with the ball for a line out to left field against the Seattle Mariners in the at Safeco Field on July 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – JULY 31: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros connects with the ball for a line out to left field against the Seattle Mariners in the at Safeco Field on July 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

It’s not very often you see blockbuster deals made between two contending teams, let alone within the same division. But the M’s may not see themselves as a potential contender this year, and a “re-imagining” of their roster could very well concede defeat to the Astros in 2019. If that’s the case, then Jerry Dipoto’s Mariners likely won’t have a very hard time plucking some of the young talent stashed beneath the Astros’ incredibly talented roster, even if it means parting with their ace.

This morning, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Astros are involved in talks about James Paxton, who has pitched very well in 39.2 innings at Minute Maid Park. With Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel both likely to head elsehwere in free agency this Winter, and Lance McCullers Jr. expected to miss the entire 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, it makes sense for the Astros to be in on one of baseball’s hottest trade targets in the early going.

Given Dipoto’s clear goal of acquiring young, controllable MLB-ready talent in a Paxton deal, the Astros line up very well. While Kyle Tucker makes a lot of sense considering the Astros’ current situation in the outfield, the biggest name the Mariners would likely target is Forrest Whitley. In reality, it’s a bit of a stretch, especially when the Astros would still have two open spots in their rotation to fill even after a Paxton acquisition. But that is – and should be – Seattle’s asking price, especially when dealing with their division rival.

Houston also has a great deal of promising talent about a year or two off from making their Major League debut. Of those names, Corbin Martin and Brandon Bielak stand out the most as potential second or third pieces in a potential deal, respectively. I’m of the firm belief that Seattle must come out of a Paxton trade with at least one significant young starting pitcher, given how weak they are in that department throughout their system, so Martin and/or Bielak would appease that appetite.

Under the circumstances, the Astros will likely be the most complicated team to work out a deal with. I don’t see it happening, but it’s definitely something to keep on.

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