Rangers GM: Josh Hamilton hasn’t been at his best

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While the Rangers downplayed the idea that anything happened between manager Ron Washington and center fielder Josh Hamilton in the dugout during Wednesday’s season finale, GM Jon Daniels admitted that his former MVP is struggling some at the moment.

Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com has the quotes:

“It’s easy to pick out one guy, but it’s been more than that,” Daniels said. “Has Josh played his best? No. Did he have an unusual injury? Yeah. I think the focal point of media, fans and some of us was the popup yesterday in center field.

“That contributed to the loss, but that’s not why we lost the game. Josh struggling is not why we’ve slumped the last two weeks, but it certainly contributed. The reality is there’s no one reason why we’ve had a rough two weeks. We’ve got a clean slate right now, go out and play tomorrow and win.”

Washington had an exchange with Hamilton in the dugout Wednesday after Hamilton missed a popup in center field, giving the A’s in two runs in what had been a 5-5 game. The Rangers went on to lose 12-5, which cost them the AL West title.

“There was no issue with Josh and I, I don’t care what you’ve seen on the camera,” Washington said. “I’m the manager. I’m allowed to ask questions.”

Hamilton went 10-for-39 with no homers, four RBI and a 17/0 K/BB ratio in the Rangers’ last nine games, seven of which were losses. Miguel Cabrera overtook him for the home run title on his way to the Triple Crown.

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.