HBT’s Trade Deadline Wrapup

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The non-waiver trade deadline hit at 4PM EDT today. It was pretty uneventful compared to years past, with lots of chatter but very few deals. Here’s what we had go down today before the non-waiver trade deadline:

Before today, we had the following in the two weeks leading up to the deadline:

Not the most active deadline in recent memory. There are reasons for this. The second wild card and greater overall parity in baseball puts more teams in the mindset of contenders, leading to a profound lack of teams selling off parts wholesale. The Cubs did it. The Astros. That’s pretty much it.

Also limiting trades: the lack of teams unloading players who are poised for free agency in cost-savings moves. Teams are locking up their talent earlier and earlier these days, meaning fewer cost-avoidance deals. Teams also have more money thanks to escalating TV contracts.  All of this makes for a much less liquid trading market than we’re used to seeing.

That doesn’t mean the deals are done, of course. Between now and the end of August teams can still complete trades of players who have cleared waivers. Trades of any kind which are completed before August 31 will allow the player in question to appear on a team’s postseason roster.

No matter how the trades come, however, keep a tab open with HBT at all times, as we’ll give you everything you need to know of the comings and goings of players along with our usual wall-to-wall baseball coverage.

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.