There are now 65 days until the Seattle Mariners’ Opening Day, so let’s look back at the Mariners career of number 65 James Paxton, as well as discuss a potential reunion with the Big Maple.
Paxton, the British Columbia native, was drafted by the Mariners in the 4th round of the 2010 draft. He went on to have a tremendous 6 years in Seattle before being traded to the Yankees in the blockbuster deal that sent Justus Sheffield to the Mariners.
In his 6 years, he had a 3.42 ERA which is tied for the best ERA in Mariners history with Felix, Iwakuma, and Randy. He spent the last two years with the Yankees after the aforementioned trade and while he, to be fair, did deal with injuries he was not the same Big Maple as he was in Seattle with a 4.16 ERA in just 34 starts.
Now number 65 is a free agent. Could a Seattle Mariners reunion happen this offseason?
Paxton only pitched 5 games in 2020 due to injury as he had a microscopic lumbar discectomy to remove a peridiscal cyst in February and then had a grade 1 flexor strain that kept him out all of September and the Playoffs. Now, his agent Scott Boras predictably says that Paxton feels like his 2019 self (He had a 3.82 ERA and a 2.99 xWOBA in 29 starts in 2019).
His injury will bring his price tag down but it is very possible that Boras is right and that Paxton could come back for his age 32 season firing on all cylinders. This means that whatever team gets Paxton could be in for a low-risk high reward signing.
With how the Seattle Mariners have been spending this offseason however it does not look like Paxton will be coming back to Seattle. But, they could definitely use another arm in the rotation and both Servais and Dipoto have said that they would not be surprised if the Mariners sign another pitcher this offseason.