Over-the-hill veterans like Seattle

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sweeney_090908.jpgFirst, Ken Griffey Jr. said he was interested in playing another season, perhaps in Seattle. Now, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Mike Sweeney is singing the same song.

“We’ll see what happens this winter. I probably won’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to play for another five months or so. But if I do and it can be in a place where we could all make it work, then I’d love to play another season.”

According to the report, Sweeney was interested in Seattle or Anaheim, though the Angels seem like an unlikely fit.

So it might come down to Seattle, which is apparently a place all the over-the-hill-but-respected veterans want to be. What’s next? Jay Buhner coming out of retirement for another season? Mark Langston lobbying for a role in the bullpen?

It just goes to show you they’re having fun in Seattle after quickly turning a 101-loss team into a fairly competitive ballclub. In fairness, Sweeney and Griffey have received plenty of credit for their positive veteran presence in the clubhouse, but it takes more than chemistry to win games.

As general manager Jack Zduriencik continues to remake the roster Bill Bavasi left him, he’ll have to weigh the worth of having respected guys like Griffey and Sweeney around vs. having guys who can actually still play.

He might get some mileage out of having one of the two around, but use up two roster spots? Not gonna happen. Personally, I’d stick with the guy who can get away with tickling Ichiro (scroll down), but that’s just me.

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If you Twitter, and wonder what happened to Ken Phelps, follow me at @Bharks.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

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The Yankees announced that the club has acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners in exchange for three prospects: 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 solid return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worries 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, and Paxton’s durability. Paxton has made more than 20 starts in a season just twice in his career — the last two years (24 and 28). The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.