Comment of the Day: free agent speculation in a nutshell

12 Comments

Reader snowbirdgothic, commenting on the David Eckstein/Pujols story this morning, pretty much nails the nature of free agency speculation in the sporting press:

Somewhere, there’s a lonely, honest sportswriter who’s going to pen a piece called “Albert Pujols is going somewhere they’re going to back up a dump truck full of money to his house, and none of this other crap matters, but we can’t say that and we have column inches to fill.”

He will then, immediately, be fired, and his replacement will do 1200 words on how Rex Hudler believes that if Pujols goes to Chicago, he’s not a true Cardinal.

It really is that simple.  There are a handful of people who actually know stuff, and even they don’t know it until right before something is announced. The rest of us are mostly just farting around. Nothing wrong with that — farting around is a lot of fun and gets us through the winter — but let’s not pretend it’s anything more than farting around.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
39 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.