David Ortiz open to joining Yankees … does it matter?

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During a conversation about the Red Sox’ collapse Wednesday with ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez, David Ortiz was asked whether he would be open to joining the rival Yankees this winter as a free agent.

Big Papi’s well-thought-out response to that question:

“That’s something I gotta think about,” Ortiz said. “I’ve been here on the Red Sox a long time, and I’ve seen how everything goes down between these two ballclubs. It’s great [in New York] from what I hear. It’s a good situation to be involved in. Who doesn’t want to be involved in a great situation where everything goes the right way?”

Ortiz just finished up a five-year contract with the Red Sox, so he’s free to sign with any club. But will the Yankees really have interest in bringing the veteran slugger aboard?

Sure, Ortiz might be able to feast on the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. But his versatility is a real issue, as is his age. The Yankees already need open playing time at DH next season for aging stars like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Then there’s Jesus Montero, who carries defensive concerns at catcher.

Ortiz told ESPN that “there’s too much drama” right now in Boston and that he might not want to be “part of this drama for next year.” But he’s not going to be as highly coveted as he might think.

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.