Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Drafted, But Not Signed All-Stars

SECAUCUS, NJ - JUNE 5: Commissioner Allan H. Bud Selig speaks at the podium during the MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network Studio on June 5, 2014 in Secacucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NJ - JUNE 5: Commissioner Allan H. Bud Selig speaks at the podium during the MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network Studio on June 5, 2014 in Secacucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 03: James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium on September 3, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 03: James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium on September 3, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

A Canadian Star

James Paxton
Do you remember the hope of the Blue Jays starting rotation in 2006?  They had a triple-headed monster going into the season of Roy Halladay, Ted Lilly, and A.J. Burnett.  Burnett had just signed a contract that would let him opt-out after his third year, which after finally having a healthy season and going 18-10, he decided to capitalize and opted out.  Because of the Blue Jays losing Burnett, they received a compensation pick in the supplemental round (between the first and second rounds) in the 2009 Amateur Draft.

With that extra pick, the Blue Jays selected a British Columbia kid playing at the University of Kentucky named James Paxton.  Paxton had played his high school baseball for the North Delta Blue Jays winning the B.C.’s Best tournament and league title twice.  He had also played at the Junior National level for Team Canada.

Paxton went undrafted out of high school and then played three years at the University of Kentucky and it all seemed to be lining up for Paxton and the Blue Jays.  Paxton finished the 2009 season with the fifth-most strikeouts in his team’s history and it was destined as the Blue Jays drafted him with the 1st Round supplement pick they had.  It seemed too good to be true that a high-level Canadian kid would come to Toronto and it was.

There have been reports that the Blue Jays offered between $873,000 and $1,000,000 to sign Paxton, but the Kentucky pitcher had an advisor by the name of Scott Boras who may have swayed him in a different direction and the two sides never agreed on terms.  Paxton was intent on going back for his final year of college, but due to the NCAA’s opinion on the Boras/Paxton relationship, they felt it violated their rules, thus causing Paxton to be ineligible for the 2010 NCAA season.  It is speculated that an investigation on Paxton started after comments from Blue Jays upper management made about their dealings with Boras.

Paxton would go and play his 2010 season for the Independent Grand Prairie AirHogs in Texas where he pitched in four games before the June 2010 Amateur draft.  In that draft, Paxton would be drafted in the fourth round by the Seattle Mariners and sign for $942,500.

Paxton has stated he has no ill feelings towards the Blue Jays, but over his career, he holds a 5-3 record, which includes a no-hitter on May 8, 2018, in Toronto.  Paxton has become a front of the rotation pitcher and is coming off a career-best 15 wins in 2019.  Over his first seven years of his career, he has posted a 56-32 record with a 3.50 ERA.  Paxton has amassed a 13.3 WAR through the first half of his career.

Paxton is still in the midst of his career at 31 years of age and becomes a free agent at the end of this season after being acquired by the New York Yankees prior to the 2019 season.  Who knows, Paxton could end up in Toronto and we can put this all behind us.

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