A new team has secured pitcher James Paxton‘s services for the 2021 season. The left-hander agreed to terms to reunite with the Seattle Mariners Saturday night after a rough 2020. He is new contract is worth $8.5 million with another$1.5 million in possible incentives. The deal is pending a physical.
Left-handed James Paxton and the Seattle Mariners are in agreement on a one-year deal for $8.5 million. Has some reachable bonuses that could take it to $10 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 14, 2021
James Paxton Agrees To Terms With Seattle Mariners
Injuries and underperformance combined to make 2020 the worst season of Paxton’s career. The Canadian southpaw posted a 6.64 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings. Many of his peripherals were as good as they have always been given a FIP of 4.37, but slight increases to hits per nine and home runs allowed per nine hurt the overall picture. However, the Mariners should expect a bounce-back performance given positive underlying numbers.
The Mariners originally drafted Paxton in the fourth round of the 2010 Amateur Draft. He debuted in 2013, but his first significant action wasn’t until 2014. That is when he threw 74 innings with a 3.04 ERA and 1.3 WAR. That was the start of a very good run where Paxton won 41 games in 102 starts with a 3.42 ERA and 10.9 WAR over six seasons. The Mariners traded him to the New York Yankees where he was still good in 2019 before this season’s unexpected struggles. Overall, Paxton has been a very solid pitcher who usually pitches between 130 and 150 innings when healthy.
Where He Fits on the Pitching Staff
His role should really be that of a third or fourth starter at this point. James Paxton has never been a true workhorse in his eight major league seasons. He has just two years of more than 150 innings, which doesn’t scream top-two starting pitcher. However, a career strikeout rate of 26.5% is a worthwhile investment on top of a fastball that has averaged 95.4 mph. The Mariners could be one of the big winners if he returns to previous production levels.
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