Blue Jays: Predicting a pillow contract for James Paxton in Toronto?
If the New York Post’s predictions are correct, the Blue Jays could have a chance to sign James Paxton to a no-brainer “pillow contract” for the 2021 season.
I love this time of year, when speculation runs rampant, and the roster-building imaginations of fans run wild with the start of free agency.
With the Blue Jays expected to be one of the few teams ready to spend some money this winter, it’s an exciting time to follow along with the hot stove, even if free agency just officially opened late yesterday afternoon. That hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from getting started early though, and naturally it’s linked a significant Canadian free agent to the Blue Jays already.
It’s no surprise that folks are expecting that James Paxton and the Blue Jays would at least touch base about a potential deal, and we’re bound to hear rumours to that end until the left-hander has signed his next contract. However, if you ask Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, he’ll tell you that Paxton is heading for a “pillow contract” to re-establish his value, and that signing north of the border is the perfect place to do it.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
That Davidoff linked the two wasn’t what surprised me, but rather, it was the predicted contract that he attached. He could be way off, but the prediction was for just one year and six million dollars. I realize that we’re looking at a suppressed free agent market because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of MLB ticket revenue in 2020, but if that’s all it takes to sign Paxton, then sign me up as quickly as the contract can be printed off.
Inking the Canadian southpaw comes with some risks of course, which is why Davidoff has predicted such a small salary for someone with his talent, and it all comes down his health. Unfortunately that was an issue for the soon-to-be 32-year-old this year, as he only made five starts, throwing just 20.1 innings. He dealt with flexor strain issues in his throwing arm, but he’s expected to be healthy and ready to go for next year at this point.
I’ve written about how I think the Blue Jays can afford to gamble on a reclamation project under the right circumstances, and signing Paxton to this type of deal would represent the best case scenario to that end. When he’s right he’s one of the more dominant left-handers in the American League, as he was just that the night I got to witness him make history as the first Canuck to throw a MLB no-hitter on Canadian soil. He made 57 starts from 2018-19, and he has a career 3.58 ERA and 1.213 WHIP over parts of eight seasons, striking out 9.9 every nine innings.
There’s a lot of upside to like about James Paxton, and if he really can be signed to a one year contract to help him re-establish his value, I hope he plays for his home country to do it. It shouldn’t be hard to find six million for him, or even a bit more, and that’s a gamble I’d take ten times out of ten.