Yu Darvish is coming to the United States . . . in 2012

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People have been getting rather excited over the possibility of Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish coming to America for some time.  Recently we learned that, nope, it won’t be in 2011.  David Lennon of Newsday reports however that it will happen in 2012.

Interesting, I suppose, but one of the biggest knocks on Darvish is that he’s had a pretty heavy workload in Japan. This season alone he had multiple 150+ pitch outings and at least a half dozen of 135 or more (note: I got that from an NPB tracker post from June; he most likely had more such outings since then).  He’s less valuable to Major League teams now than he would have been a couple of years ago because of that, and if he’s similarly abused in 2011 — and if he’s all but gone after the season, why wouldn’t his Japanese manager abuse him all the more? — he might be a shell of his former self by the time he’s posted for the U.S.

Consider me bearish in the extreme on this guy. His ERA has been sparkling, but he’s got more miles on that odometer than U.S. pitchers several years his senior.  Buyer beware.

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.