Chris Perez retires

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Former Indians closer Chris Perez has retired from baseball. This actually happened a few days ago, but no one took notice. The only mention of it appears to be this entry on the International League’s transactions page from four days ago:

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He was in the Orioles organization, but he couldn’t even pitch anyway given that he had a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse to serve that wouldn’t have ended until next month.

Maybe the retirement holds, maybe it doesn’t. Manny Ramirez retired when faced with a drug suspension but then came back and saw the suspension reduced. Precedent is set, right? Take a year or so off, get back in shape and try to latch on someplace else.

Maybe, however, Perez just wants to move on from baseball and into whatever else it is interests him in life. Which, based on his disciplinary and legal history of the past couple of years seems to be marijuana, but hey, whatever you want to do man.

When baseball was his thing he was pretty good at it for a while. He was an All-Star closer for the Indians in 2011 and 2012, saving 36 and 39 games in those years, respectively. But since then he has a 4.31 ERA with 46 walks in 100 innings. He was arrested in 2013, along with his wife, after having a package of marijuana delivered in their dog’s name. Then this suspension. He has bounced from the Indians to the Dodgers to the Brewers and now to the Orioles organization before hanging it up.

Hang loose, Chris. Go be you wherever you want to be.

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.