Report: Instigator Posada gets four-game ban

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According to the New York Daily News, both Jorge Posada and Blue Jays reliever Jesse Carlson have received four-game suspensions for their actions that started a brawl Tuesday.
Posada’s penalty is clearly the harsher of the two, even if the time off is the same. Position players, starting pitchers and relievers are all treated differently when it comes to handing out suspensions, and if the league office had thought Carlson was as much at fault as Posada, he would have faced a longer ban.
As is, the penalties seem fair. Posada didn’t set off the brawl directly, so he doesn’t get quite the five- or six-game penalty that’s usually handed out to players who charge the mound. Still, he practically forced Carlson to respond when he delivered the quick shove after crossing home plate.
6:30 pm update – It now appears as though both Posada and Carlson will serve three-game suspensions, with the condition being that neither will appeal. That follows a common trend that’s developed these last couple of years: if the players decline to contend suspensions in a hearing, they’ll usually get a game knocked off, which is the best they can typically hope for in a hearing anyway. Both players will be begin serving their suspensions tonight.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.