Judge: McCourt can’t talk about what other clubs do

9 Comments

Earlier this week we learned that Frank McCourt and the Dodgers, in their battle with Major League Baseball, wanted to take discovery of other teams like the Marlins and the Mets in order to establish that they were held to a different standard than the Dodgers were being held to.  Today the judge ruled: sorry Frankie.

Bill Shaikin reports that the judge ruled that  “[t]his hearing is a not a referendum on the Commissioner or other baseball teams …” and that he’s done listening to the parties offering “allegations and innuendo” and wants to put an end to what he called a “sideshow.”

He has set a hearing, beginning on October 31st, in which Bud Selig and Frank McCourt will testify in person and the judge will determine whether or not MLB has been jerking McCourt around, thereby weakening baseball’s claim that McCourt had violated its debt, capitalization and other rules. If it is found that baseball has treated McCourt fairly, it could be the beginning of the end of his reign as owner.

This has to be construed as a big win for baseball, as the financials and side deals to which other clubs are subject are something baseball does not want brought out into public.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
35 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.