Seattle Mariners: Negative Nick and Positive Pete Discuss Paxton Trade
The Mariners finally traded James Paxton to the New York Yankees. So naturally, we have the conversation between Negative Nick and Positive Pete for your enjoyment.
Setting: A typical Seattle office. Nick and Pete, huge Mariners fans, discuss the latest move by GM Jerry Dipoto.
PP: The Big Apple? No, that’s what New York City is called. Oh, the Big Pastrami!
NN: The Big Pastrami? What are you talking about, Pete?
PP: New York has a lot of deli’s and James Paxton needs a new nickname to fit where he’s been traded.
NN: Come again?
PP: James Paxton was traded to the Yankees. Nick, you feeling okay?
NN: Trading away our poor-hitting backstop is one thing but our ace pitcher?! Let’s wait another 18 years for playoff baseball.
PP: You’re not wrong by much. Shipping away Paxton is a setback but Dipoto recently said “that 2019 be a year that we step back, hoping to take two forward” (@KevinShockey).
NN: Or in this case eighteen steps back. Do you thing the Yankees or Red Sox have that type of attitude? If the Mariners continue to think that way, consider this a never-ending rebuild.
PP: In Paxton’s five full seasons in the bigs, name one where he gave us a full season.
NN: Last season. Don’t forget about his no-hitter last May.
PP: No, he missed a fair chunk of time even last year. Remember when he was drilled on the arm in Oakland? And no-hitters are a thrill in the short term but let’s consider the long run.
NN: The playoffs!
PP: No, Nick. A farm system! Ours was lowest of the low to begin last season and the 2017 squad didn’t do the job. They faded out of the wild-card race.
NN: But we lost our ace.
PP: Our ace with unreliable health. There was always something. You’re also forgetting who we traded him to. The New York Yankees with their always dominant farm system.
NN: First off, who did we get for him?
PP: All prospects. Pitchers Justus Sheffield and Erik Swanson along with outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams. Sheffield is their top one!
NN: Pete, let me fill you in before you leap for joy. Remember the last time we swapped our young, up-and-coming pitcher for the top Yankee prospect?
PP: Jesus Montero?
NN: Exactly, Jesus Montero. Lucky for us, Michael Pineda never panned out and is sulking in Minnesota somewhere. But look how Montero worked out. He was a one-hit wonder, that’s it. And the Mariners aren’t exactly the best judges of talent.
PP: Maybe so but it’s the Yankees’ farm system. If the Yankees made Justus their top prospect, they saw something they liked.
NN: Or maybe they saw something they didn’t like and knew the Mariners would fall victim to that.
PP: You can’t think that way. And Justus Sheffield is not Jesus Montero.
NN: But maybe he will be!
PP: We can’t predict anything. Trading for prospects is always a gamble but the fact is, the Mariners did and we have to accept it.
NN: But Paxton! We traded our ace pitcher who by the way, was still pre-arb.
PP: Paxton is still a young man, you’re right. But trading him pre-arb guarantees we get something for him, from a team with a strong farm. Let’s say we kept Paxton but once he’s eligible for free agency, the costs more than the Mariner’s plans due to even higher value. Then Paxton walks free and our depleted farm gets nothing in return.
NN: Doesn’t matter, we have no new ace in the rafters.
PP: Hey, don’t count out Marco. Or a more experienced Sheffield come later years.