Trade analysis: Washburn to Tigers

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Tigers acquire RHP Jarrod Washburn from the Mariners in exchange for LHP Luke French and LHP Mauricio Robles.

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Can’t blame the Mariners for this one. Realize that they gave up a
35-year-old southpaw with a 4.02 career ERA and 43.6% career flyball
rate. He benefited greatly with the best outfield defense in the sport
this season (+14.1 UZR/150), putting up a 2.64 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 79/33
K/BB ratio in 133 innings. A quick look at his FIP (3.75) and BABIP
(.249 as opposed to a .280 career average) tell you that he was getting
more than a bit lucky this season.

Still, he’s a solid veteran who throws strikes and he should hold
down the back of the Tigers rotation. While I expect him to fall off a
bit, Comerica Park is pretty spacious too, and their outfield defense
isn’t that bad either.

This isn’t a great return for the Mariners, but the move made sense
considering Washburn was going to leave as a free agent, anyway.
Interestingly, French, who had a 3.38 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in seven games
(five starts) with the Tigers this season, has a 50% flyball rate in
the majors thus far, and a 39.7% flyball rate in parts of four seasons
in the minors. While he may have some trouble sticking as a starter in
the majors, he could have landed in a far worse situation. As for
Robles, he is just 20 years old, but boasts a 111/41 K/BB ratio in 91
1/3 innings pitched between Single-A West Michigan and High-A Lakeland
this season.

Report: Yankees acquire James Paxton from the Mariners

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Yankees have acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners. Corey Brock of The Athletic reports that the Mariners will be receiving three prospects from the Yankees: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a good return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worry about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field. The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.