Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy will have a ride to Reds games this season

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You may remember that Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy recently asked for a favor. You see, because McCoy is legally blind, a friend has been driving him to and from Reds home games for the past five seasons. However, after his friend had to step aside for health reasons, McCoy took to his personal blog last month to see if someone was willing to take over. Fortunately, he didn’t have much trouble finding a replacement.

In a must-read column over at FOXSportsOhio.com, McCoy writes that he was overwhelmed by the response. He received a total of 437 offers at last count, including one applicant who was willing to move back from Dubai for the opportunity.

McCoy ultimately selected Ray Snedegar, a retired Air Force load master. The gig only pays 55 cents a mile and will require late nights and a 180-mile round trip, but Snedegar doesn’t mind.

When he saw my blog, Snedegar sent his email, “Because it would give me a chance to mix and mingle with a lot of new people after losing my wife. I love baseball and I love Hal’s writing.”

Here’s hoping that Snedegar and McCoy have a great summer.

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.