Nothin’ like a parade! In Phoenix! In July! At noon!

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People keep asking me if I’m going to Phoenix for the All-Star Game.  I keep telling them no.

A number of reasons, really. For one thing, I’m not really a proper reporter, so I’m not sure what I’d do there except get in everyone’s way while I did that “what the heck am I doing here” Hunter S. Thompson thing that, while always good in theory, tends to just annoy everyone in practice.

Secondly, I was just in Phoenix for spring training, and while that lends itself to reporting too, a ten day boondoggle is a little different because you can grok the zeitgeist a little more than you can with a two-day kind of deal. And it’s easier to indulge the Thompson fantasies when you have more time and space to spread out.

There’s also the fact that I don’t find the All-Star Game particularly interesting, so I wouldn’t exactly be doing much besides grouching about things, and even a cynic like me has to acknowledge that that’s not the highest and best use of a press pass.

But mostly it’s the heat. I hate the heat, and I don’t want to be in 100 degree weather no matter how dry it is.  So forgive me if I watch this — straight from the press release factory at Major League Baseball — on TV:

Fans will have an opportunity to see their favorite 2011 MLB All-Stars up close on the streets of Phoenix and on television nationally on MLB Network as part of the seventh annual MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet.

On Tuesday, July 12, fans are invited to watch the procession of All-Stars to the 82nd Midsummer Classic as they make their way down an approximately 1,750 foot red carpet stretching 1/3 of a mile from the corner of 1stSt. and Jefferson St. down 4th St. and ending at Chase Field.

The event, which begins at 12:00 p.m. local time, is scheduled to feature all the Major League Baseball All-Stars riding in Chevrolet Silverados. Serving as Grand Marshal, MLB All-Star Ambassador and five-time MLB All-Star Luis Gonzalez will lead the parade through the streets.

Nothing like a parade at high noon in Phoenix in July.  I’ll be in my fortified compound sipping cool beverages.

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.