The Toronto Blue Jays should make an effort to import pitcher James Paxton back to Canada with the Seattle Mariners rumored to be shopping the 30-year old pitcher.
James Paxton could solidify the Blue Jays rotation potentially forming an impressive trio with the likes of Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. The Jays and Mariners both appear poised to shed salary leaning toward a youth movement, however, Paxton is the type of pitcher the Jays should look to add to their squad when the opportunity presents itself.
The Mariners and Blue Jays could actually be a decent match on paper as Seattle just dealt their catcher Mike Zunino to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Jays have a plethora of young catching centered around Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire who both appear MLB ready.
The Blue Jays would obviously need to sweeten the pot in order to beat the Yankees to the punch who are also rumored to have interest in the Canadian hurler. Anthony Alford is an interesting prospect with upside even though he is coming off a down season. Pitchers Sean Reid-Foley or Thomas Pannone could also be expendable with Paxton coming back in the deal.
The Jays could offer McGuire, Alford, and Pannone to at the very least get the Paxton conversation started. It may take another prospect or even Danny Jansen but Paxton could pay dividends and put fans in the stands every fifth day.
Paxton earned $4.9 million last season and will in all likelihood double that number in 2019 via the arbitration process. The native of British Columbia is not set to hit free agency until 2021 so he would be in the fold for at least two seasons before the Jays would have to concern themselves with resigning him.
The 30-year old no-hit the Jays in Toronto pacing the way for his impressive 11-6 season where he posted a 3.76 earned run average in 28 starts. In 2017, Paxton was even better suffocating his earned run average below three in 24 starts for Seattle.
Paxton is not your traditional target for a team rebuilding, however, he is a legit ace who is still affordable with team control for two more seasons.
The “Big Maple” would also look good in Blue Jays blue in his home and native land.