The Toronto Blue Jays missed an opportunity to bolster their rotation as Canadian hurler James Paxton inked a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners. Paxton lands back in Seattle for $8.5 million, however, the deal could approach $10 million if the hurler maxes out on his incentives.
Jon Heyman of the MLB Network is reporting that the New York Mets were the runner-ups in the Paxton sweepstakes and will now focus their attention to Taijuan Walker or Jake Odorizzi. This could be problematic for the Blue Jays as the free agent pitching crop begins to dwindle.
It was reported earlier this week that Toronto has kept in constant contact with Walker throughout the offseason although the term of the deal appeared to be a sticking point. The Blue Jays need to make a commitment to Walker and make it now, they can ill afford to lose out to the Mets in their pursuit of the big right-hander.
It was speculated that Paxton was seeking a Corey Kluber type deal in the neighborhood of $11 million so the Mariners did well reacquainting themselves with Paxton for a few million less. Paxton was drafted by Seattle in 2010 and spent the first six years of his career with the Mariners.
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In other Blue Jays related news, Shun Yamaguchi passed through waivers unclaimed and was subsequently released by the club. Toronto is now on the hook for the remaining $3.175 million on the hurlers contract for the 2021 campaign.
The Yamaguchi experiment did not go as planned as the 33-year old posted a dreadful 8.06 earned run average in 17 games in his first taste of the majors. Along with Yamaguchi, the Jays also designated outfielder Derek Fisher for assignment as they strengthen roster before the start of spring training.
The Jays are pot committed after opening the vault on free agents George Springer and Marcus Semien. They cannot afford to cheap out on starting pitching at this stage of the game or all their positive additions this offseason will be all for not.
They need to be aggressive and do it now otherwise this rotation will be their Achilles Heel all season long.