Jonathan Herrera shuts the door on his season

1 Comment

Well, more specifically, Jonathan Herrera shut the door on his hands, leaving him with a fractured right index finger and a damaged ligament in his left pinkie finger and bringing his 2011 campaign to a close.

Herrera, who spent most of the first two months as the Rockies’ starting second baseman, ends the year having hit .242/.313/.299 in 281 at-bats.  He got NL-only leaguers excited by stealing four bases in three games from April 10-13, only to go 0-for-4 in that category in his remaining 102 games.

And that pretty much sums up Herrera.  He’s an above average defensive second baseman, but he’s not so superb to warrant regular playing time unless he’s hitting .280-.290.  The Rockies benched him in June and had only occasionally used him since.  He did have a three-hit game on Friday, but it was his first since April 8.

The Rockies will have some decisions to make at second base this winter.  Free-agent-to-be Mark Ellis got off to an excellent start after coming over from the A’s, but he’s really cooled off since.  He’ll be 35 next year, and he only figures to get more injury prone with time.  The Rockies could let him go and have Herrera, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr. all battle for playing time, but while they might get lucky there, none of the trio projects as an average regular.  Nelson is back in Triple-A after hitting .231/.258/.340 in 156 at-bats for Colorado.  Young, who would be a threat to lead the league in steals if he starts 150 games, is batting .224/.323/.254 in 134 at-bats.  He’s also the weakest defender of the bunch.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
14 Comments

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.