UPDATE: source close to Pettitte believes he’s coming back

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UPDATE: I just spoke with a source close to Pettitte. The source — while acknowledging that Pettitte is somewhat unpredictable — believes that Pettitte will be playing in 2011.

3.05 P.M.: Bob Klapisch just tweeted that the Yankees “heard from a friend of Pettite’s that he’s definitely retiring.”  That word came three weeks ago, however, and the team is still waiting for official word.

I’m skeptical only insofar as (a) if there was really something solid about Pettitte retiring, it seems like Kalpisch would make a monster story out of it rather than just tweet it; and (b) why would the Yankees rely on “a friend of Pettite’s” for such a report?  They know his cell phone number. And we’ve heard as recently as a couple of weeks ago that Pettitte was coming back or going to the Rangers or whatever. In short: people likely know less about Andy Pettitte’s true intentions than science knows about worm holes and quarks and stuff.

I’m not doubting it and I’m not believing it. It’s out there. I think we need a bit more than this, however, before we can really start talking about Pettitte’s career in the past tense.

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.