The Yankees quest to add starting pitching has reached Seattle, where GM Brian Cashman has inquired of the Mariners about the availability of 30-year-old left-hander James Paxton.
The story, originally reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, was confirmed Friday by the Daily News via team sources.
Paxton went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 starts for the Mariners in 2018 and struck out 208 in 160-1/3 innings. In an era in which starters rarely go deep into ballgames, Paxton led the American League in complete games, albeit with only two. Paxton also pitched at least seven innings 11 times last season and went into the eighth inning twice, a quality that no doubt makes him attractive to the Yankees, whose starters averaged just 5-1/3 innings in 2018.
It is unclear who the Yankees are offering in return for Paxton, who earned $4.9 million in 2018 and is under team control through 2020. The Yankees signed CC Sabathia to a one-year-deal earlier this week, but Cashman said at the GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., this week that he would seek to add “multiple” starters to a rotation that includes Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka.
“We have reached out on all available starters in both free agency and trade market,” Cashman said via text.
The Yankees are known to be interested in re-signing lefthander J.A. Happ, who went 7-0 with a 2.79 ERA in 11 starts for them after being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays at the trade deadline, and pursuing free agent lefty Patrick Corbin, who went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They are also exploring the possibility of a trade with the Cleveland Indians either for two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco, both of whom are believed to be on the block.