Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin wants us to forget about his '09 collapse

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ryan franklin posing.JPGRyan Franklin had a pretty exceptional 2009 season, all things considered.  He finished with a 1.92 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 38 saves in 43 chances, filling a role for the Cardinals that looked to be a major question mark this time last year.  But reporters this spring have decided to focus instead on the four saves he blew down the stretch and the nine earned runs he allowed in his last 9 2/3 frames of the regular season, and Franklin is sick of hearing about it, or something.

“I didn’t let it bother me,” Franklin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The people who write in to
the papers don’t make the decisions on me. … To be blunt, I don’t know why we have to keep talking
about it when that was last year. This is a new year. I’m going to try
my best to be strong until the end of the year.”

Listen, Ryan, nobody likes hearing about their shortcomings, but trying to control the message is rarely worth the effort.  Just ask Tiger Woods.  Perhaps we should have learned our lesson about the Cardinals closer when he voiced his unconscionable frustration over MLB’s new gun policy a few weeks ago.

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.