Rockies sign Ramon Hernandez to two-year contract, trade Chris Iannetta to Angels

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From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Rockies have reached a two-year, $6.4 million free agent contract with veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez and have traded Chris Iannetta to the Angels for 21-year-old right-hander Tyler Chatwood.

Hernandez, 35, posted a .788 OPS in 328 plate appearances this year for the Reds. He’s not much of an upgrade offensively over Iannetta and he’s around seven years older, but it’s not a significant downgrade either and the Rockies have managed to grab a promising young starter in the three-pronged transaction.

Chatwood, a second-round pick in 2008, turned in a 4.75 ERA across 142 innings as a rookie in 2011. He struggled with his control to the tune of a 1.67 WHIP and 74/70 K/BB ratio, but he showed better command in the Angels’ minor league system and has plenty of time to develop that side of his game in Colorado.

So, in essence, the Rox get another promising young arm while barely losing any offensive potential and the Angels have secured a much-needed upgrade at catcher. Seems like there are positives for all parties.

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.