Yankees: James Paxton Responds to Questions About Contract Extension
By Jerry Trotta
Yankees starter James Paxton revealed where the club stands in offering him a new contract.
Despite his maddening first inning woes, James Paxton ultimately proved that the New York Yankees were smart to acquire him via trade during the 2018 offseason. However, with his contract set to expire after the upcoming truncated campaign, the club isn’t showing much of an incentive to ink him to an extension.
Per the New York Daily News, Paxton revealed on Wednesday that the Yankees have yet to open negotiations about a potential new deal.
This certainly isn’t the worst news in the world, as general manager Brian Cashman could be brainstorming terms behind closed doors. However, it is a tad worrisome that New York hasn’t even approached him yet with the 2020 season just one week away.
Playing the waiting game seems like a bold strategy from the Yankees when you consider that Paxton was their best pitcher in 2019. Could you make a case for Domingo German? We suppose, but his 4.03 ERA proved that his 18 wins were largely the product of the ridiculous run support he received. On top of that, domestic violence accusations ended his season right before October, so he wasn’t even available to pitch in the playoffs.
The 31-year-old southpaw, meanwhile, finished 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA, 186 strikeouts and a 1.281 WHIP across 29 starts. He also delivered a spectacular performance in a must-win Game 5 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros, allowing one run on four hits and nine strikeouts in six innings of work.
If that gutsy outing didn’t prove that Paxton was built to pitch in New York, we’re not sure what will.
Is it possible that Paxton’s long-term durability is the one bugaboo preventing the Yankees from taking action? Perhaps, but the Big Maple has shown no signs of slowing down, talent-wise, to this point. We would even argue that his effectiveness elevated as the season wore on last year.
All told, we fully expect that New York’s lack of urgency to sign Paxton to an extension will end soon because it’s unlikely the club would unload top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield to acquire the big-game hurler as a 1.33-year rental.
Patience is a virtue, Yankees fans. And with rotation holes next offseason created by both Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka, the team will need to have some sort of master plan. Perhaps they could get Paxton to agree to a shorter-term bit of security?
2020-21’s going to be strange. Rest assured, they’re not going to let Pax walk without properly evaluating things.