Alexi Ogando replaces CC Sabathia replaces James Shields

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By the time the day ends, you and I might be All-Stars.

See, a few years back, MLB, in response to complaints about the All-Star managers favoring their own players, gave the players a chance to vote on All-Star picks.

And that wasn’t a bad idea.  The problem was that MLB now keeps turning back to those players ballots each time a players pick for the All-Star Game withdraws.

So, we get fame (Scott Rolen) over production (Aramis Ramirez), saves (Jordan Walden) over performance (David Robertson) and, somehow, Kevin Correia.

We also have a rule about how every pitcher starting the Sunday before the All-Star Game had to be replaced on the roster.

And, now, we have CC Sabathia replacing James Shields, only to be immediately declared ineligible and get replaced by Alexi Ogando.

Thanks to MLB’s decison to create a set of rules about how replacements have to be chosen Sabathia, who was probably deserving anyway, gets his All-Star appearance and any applicable bonus, all without having to travel to Phoenix.

And Ogando, who is 9-3 with a 2.92 ERA for the Rangers, will go in his place and perhaps pitch in the game.

The league also announced today that rookie Michael Pineda would replace Justin Verlander, another Sunday starter.  Later, another pitcher is expected to be named in Felix Hernandez’s place.  We’re planning to have a full update on all of the All-Star roster changes after that.

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.