Todd Helton apologizes for his DUI

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Todd Helton addressed the media yesterday, apologizing for his February 6 DUI, which he called “a monumental mistake”:

“Last week I got behind the wheel of my truck after I had drank. All I can do now is apologize and ask for forgiveness. I spoke to my teammates today and they were very supportive. I’m very grateful to my wife, my family, my teammates and the Colorado Rockies organization for their support. I am determined to learn from my mistakes, and I’ve gotten help.”

He said he was “doing everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” His manager, Walt Weiss, talked about this representing “closure.” So this sounds like the last we’ll hear of it. Left unsaid: whether Helton thinks he has a drinking problem and whether whatever Helton is doing to “make sure this doesn’t happen again” involves addressing his relationship with alcohol. Sorry if that sounds judgmental, but this passive voice noise from Helton makes me a little judgmental:

“The main point was it can happen to anybody,” Helton said of his message to the Rockies. “I never thought it could happen to me, and it did, and just be aware of it.”

Because getting behind the wheel of a car while you’re drunk just pounces on a person unaware. Always gotta be on the lookout for those Solo cups full of wine and car keys to spring out of the dark and land on you like a predator. Yes, Helton is the real victim here when you think about it.

One can say they’re sorry all they want. But saying you’re sorry and taking responsibility for a thing are not the same.

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.