Mariners trade LHP James Paxton to Yankees for prospects

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Seattle Mariners have traded left-handed starter James Paxton to the New York Yankees for a package of prospects including highly-touted left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield.

The Mariners also get outfielder Don Thompson-Williams and right-handed pitcher Erik Swanson.

“To add three dynamic athletes who are entering the prime of their respective careers, while also maintaining six seasons of club control for each, is very exciting,” Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. 

“Justus Sheffield has an unquestionable prospect pedigree. With a combination of high-end velocity to go along with an advanced slider and a developing changeup, we think Justus has a chance to pitch at the upper portion of our rotation soon. Erik Swanson has performed at every level, combining a mid-90s fastball as well as two effective secondary pitches. At 25 years old, he is just entering the prime years of his career, and we think he will impact our Major League club in the near future. Dom Thompson-Williams is an electric athlete, who we think will move quickly through our minor league system. He brings a powerful left-handed bat, speed on the bases and athleticism in the outfield.”

Paxton, 30, has been the anchor of Seattle's starting rotation for the last two seasons when healthy. He's gone a combined 24-11 over the past two years with 2.98 ERA in 2017 and a 3.76 ERA in 2018. He also tossed the sixth no-hitter in franchise history in a 5-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in May.

Paxton has struggled to stay healthy during his five mostly full-time seasons with the Mariners big league club, but he started a career-high 28 games for the team last season. He is still arbitration-eligible for the next two seasons, which gives the Yankees some added value in the deal.

Sheffield, 22, is the Yankees top prospect in an organization thought to be heavy on talent. He split time last season with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, posting a combined 7-6 record with a 2.48 ERA. He struck out 123 batters in 116.0 innings pitched.

He appeared in three games for the Yankees in September, pitching 2.2 innings with a 10.12 ERA. His first two outings were scoreless efforts before allowing three runs in an inning to the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 30.

Sheffield will likely factor into the Mariners rotation immediately.

Swanson, 25, also split time between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 8-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 22 games, 20 starts. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-handed pitcher averaged 10.41 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, while limiting opponents to a .204 opponents’ batting average.

Thompson-Williams, 23, spent most of 2018 with High-A Tampa, batting .290 with 56 runs, 16 doubles, 4 triples, 17 home runs, 65 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 90 games. The left-handed hitting outfielder also appeared in 10 games with Single-A Charleston, batting .378 with seven runs, one double, five home runs and nine RBI.

Photo Credit: ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 12: James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners pitches during the first inning of a game at Angel Stadium on July 12, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Curtis Crabtree

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