Baseball considering a concussions disabled list

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UPDATERob Neyer responds and distills the responses I’ve heard from others on this. The upshot: there may be a lot of low-level concussions that occur that are sort of flying under the radar, and that by having a short DL option, teams may be more willing to call a concussion a concussion and put the player on the shelf for a few days.

I guess I get this. My sense, though, is to still think that if concussions — even minor ones — are as dangerous as we’re starting to believe, that we should be erring on the side of more time off for players who suffer them, not less.

2:35 P.M. The Associated Press has learned that Major League Baseball is considering a 7-day disabled list for players with concussions, and that it could go into effect as early as next year.

There are really no details provided, but I’m not sure I get this.  Are there any players who have been diagnosed with concussions who have not missed at least 15 days on the regular disabled list? Jason Bay and Justin Morneau each missed the remainder of the season after suffering concussions of their own.

What purpose does this serve?  Wouldn’t a 15-day DL better protect players by making them, you know, sit out at least 15 days? At the end of the day, isn’t it the case that someone has to be healthy and cleared by medical staff in order to resume playing? How would a separate disabled list change this approach in any way?

This smells like PR to me. At a time when the NFL is getting killed — perhaps righteously — over concussions, this feels to me like baseball trying to get ahead of media scrutiny as opposed to addressing an actual need.

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.