Seattle Mariners: Offseason Trade Grades, Part 1

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Justus Sheffield #86 of the New York Yankees poses for a portrait during the New York Yankees photo day on February 21, 2018 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Justus Sheffield #86 of the New York Yankees poses for a portrait during the New York Yankees photo day on February 21, 2018 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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SEATTLE, WA – MARCH 31: James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners points to indicate Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Cleveland Indians swung, but it’s called a walk in the first inning at Safeco Field on March 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Cleveland Indians beat the Seattle Mariners 6-5. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images
SEATTLE, WA – MARCH 31: James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners points to indicate Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Cleveland Indians swung, but it’s called a walk in the first inning at Safeco Field on March 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Cleveland Indians beat the Seattle Mariners 6-5. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images /

With just two years left on his contract, James Paxton was no longer a fit for the direction the Mariners are going in. As the offseason started to kick into high gear, rumors swirled around Paxton for a good week or so before the Mariners finally pulled the trigger and executed a deal centered around the 30-year-old Canadian southpaw with the New York Yankees.

Paxton, coming off a season in which he accrued a 3.8 fWAR in 160.1 innings, headlined a depleted Mariners rotation for the past two seasons and now slots right in the middle of a World Series contender. Perhaps the biggest winner of the deal is Paxton himself, being given the opportunity to pitch for a championship-caliber club rather than carrying the complete weight of a rotation.

As for the Mariners, they received one of the best pitching prospects in baseball with Justus Sheffield, who immediately comes in as the top prospect in their farm system. Sheffield may never reach the ace status that Paxton held in his time in Seattle, but could be a solid secondary or tertiary option in Seattle’s rotation for years to come.

The M’s also added right-handed pitching prospect Erik Swanson, who fits the Trevor Cahill mold of an above-average fourth or fifth starter, while also posing the potential as a late-inning reliever. Dom Thompson-Williams is an interesting piece, developing a significant amount of power last year to complement his above average glove in the outfield.

However, the additions of Swanson and Thompson-Williams are a bit on the light side and it would have been nice to get a bit more value on the back end, but that shows you just how valuable Sheffield was to the Mariners.

Grade: C+

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