3 major implications the James Paxton signing has on the Mariners rotation

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SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 29: Starter James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch (Sodo Mojo All-Star). (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 29: Starter James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch (Sodo Mojo All-Star). (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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The Seattle Mariners have brought back the fan-favorite lefty James Paxton. The Big Maple has been signed for a reported $8.5 million with incentives of $750,000 for making 10 starts and another $750,000 for making 20 starts.

The signing of Paxton obviously helps the rotation and satisfies a need that the Mariners had for a top half of the rotation starter. But, it also has three major implications for Seattle’s rotation asks some questions that will have to be answered before and during the season.

Implication #1: Mariners have a very lefty-heavy rotation

James Paxton‘s addition to the 6 man rotation means that the Mariners will probably have 4 lefties in the rotation and could even have 5. The other lefties are Marco Gonzales, Justus Sheffield, and Yusei Kikuchi, and the potential 5th lefty starter would be Nick Margevicius.

That leaves Chris Flexen as the only righty that will 100% be in the rotation and the righty Justin Dunn will be competing with the lefty Nick Margevicius in spring training and throughout the season.

This is also the most lefties in a rotation in the league, as no one else has 4 lefties in their rotation, and Kansas City, Toronto, and the Dodgers all have 3 according to Fangraphs depth chart projections.

However, there could be a method to Jerry Dipoto’s madness as this is how the AL West teams ranked in 2020 for OPS vs left-handed pitching: Rangers 28th, A’s 23rd, Astros 22nd, Angels 15th. So only one of the teams in the AL West ranked in the top half for OPS vs lefties and they were 15th.

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