HBT Weekend Wrapup

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I needed this weekend wrapup more than usual because I’ve really been out of baseball circulation the past couple of days. My folks took my kids out to the lake on Saturday, so Mrs. Shyster and I had a nice lunch, took in a movie, did a little aimless wandering and then had a nice dinner. Yesterday we had my boy’s fifth birthday party. Over both days I was on an Internet detox regimen that, while not a total blackout, was about as unplugged as I ever get. When you spend as much time in front of a screen as I do you just gotta do that sometimes.

The upshot: I didn’t watch an inning of baseball all weekend, and really didn’t pay attention to what the hell was going on. Thank goodness, then, for D.J. and Drew who documented that which needed to be documented and allowed me to catch up quite nicely this morning. The highlights:

  • Nick Swisher hit a walkoff single on the night the Yankees paid tribute to The Boss. I’m glad this event managed to bring some attention to Steinbrenner’s passing, because I was worried that people were completely missing it.
  • I’m sure a bunch of people heard about Yogi Berra falling down and thought “Oh noes! These things come in threes!”  I had breakfast with my personal mystic this morning, however, and she tells me that Yogi will not form the trio with Sheppard and Steinbrenner. She was insistent, however, that I cancel my bowling date with Joe Pepitone next Thursday.
  • Matt Kemp isn’t being dealt. Of course, the only reason we’re obligated to mention this is because someone ridiculously suggested that he was going to get dealt.

The movie, by the way, was “Inception,” which I liked a great deal. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it will likely make a lot of money and will thereby cause movie studios to try and cash in with copycat psychological thrillers, all of which will almost certainly be muddled disasters because they won’t be written and directed by Chris Nolan.

Anyway, back to baseball for me.  Let’s get on with our week.

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.