James Paxton Reunion
If he's (somehow) too expensive for the Red Sox, maybe he'd be more viable in the Bronx?
Man, it's ... it's a real bummer that the Yankees' offseason has fallen from dreams of Yamamoto to this particular bin, but the reality is they need depth, featuring experience and moderate upside. Montgomery would fill every need on that list, as long as he doesn't command a contract between $160-175 million ... but he probably will, and wants to go back to Texas! Snell would be a viable upside play, but his contract is also likely to be prohibitively expensive (or, at least, likely to reach the point where even a layperson would feel awkward handing it out). That's how you arrive at a place like Paxton, and how you can convince yourself that $15-16 million for a lot of strikeouts, 100 innings, and a 3.94 ERA wouldn't be so bad after all.
Paxton's been a Yankee before. He was comfortably solid here. He fought back from year-robbing injuries to look like a Comeback Player of the Year candidate in Boston last season before falling off as the season dragged on (where have we heard that before?).
At Fenway Park, hardly a pitchers' paradise, he somehow posted a 3.16 ERA in eight starts, striking out 49 men in 42.2 innings. In 10 first-half starts, he posted a 2.73 ERA and .201 BAA with 64 Ks in 56 innings. Even if Paxton ceased being effective as soon as the second-half bell tolled, there is no such thing as a bad one-year deal, especially if it comes with 64 valuable first-half innings.
"If only he could stay healthy..." isn't a valid caveat here. We already know that he won't. The only question is how the Yankees should value his pre-injury contributions, and that number changes depending on whether or not they're actually able to nab a top-tier arm.