The New York Yankees made a major addition to their starting rotation Monday, acquiring left-hander James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners for three players, including top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield.
Paxton, 30, struck out a career-high 208 batters last season on his way to compiling an 11-6 record and 3.76 ERA. In May, he tossed the sixth no-hitter in Mariners history when he blanked the Toronto Blue Jays in a 5-0 victory.
And if there’s any doubt about his ability to handle the spotlight in New York, just remember he hardly flinched when a bald eagle landed on his shoulder before a start in April.
The 6-4 native of Ladner, British Columbia, has battled injuries throughout his pro career, but he’s shown flashes of brilliance when healthy. Paxton posted a 41-26 record over six major league seasons and has struck out an average of 9.5 batters per nine innings.
The Yankees won 100 games last season, but finished second to the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox in the American League East. Bolstering the starting rotation has been one of their top offseason priorities — and Paxton gives them a solid No. 2 to slot between right-handers Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka.
To get Paxton, the Yankees had to part with three players, including one of their top minor league arms.
Sheffield, 22, made his major-league debut in September, allowing three earned runs in three appearances. Before his promotion, he went 7-6 with a 2.48 ERA in 116 innings at Class AA and AAA. A first-round draft pick by the Cleveland Indians in 2014, Sheffield was acquired by the Yankees in a 2016 trade deadline deal for reliever Andrew Miller.
Also going to Seattle:
Right-handed pitcher Erik Swanson, 25, who went 8-2 with a 2.66 ERA across three minor league levels.
And outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, 23, who hit .299/.363/.546 at two Class A stops and led all Yankees minor leaguers in 2018 with 22 home runs.