The Toronto Blue Jays failed to shore up their rotation this offseason, however, there was one free agent hurler who was more than willing to explore the possibility.
Canadian pitcher James Paxton agreed to a one-year $8.5 million dollar pact with the Seattle Mariners recently after it was rumoured the Blue Jays were interested in 32-year old native of Ladner, British Columbia.
Paxton appeared on The Scott Rintoul Show on Sportsnet 650 yesterday and shed some light on his offseason as a free agent. The hurler admitted it was a lot quieter than he anticipated on the open market and although he was interested in once again playing north of the border, the Blue Jays never got to a point in the negotiations where a formal offer was tabled.
"“Well, they showed lots of interest, you know, and I had interest in them too, but they never did actually come with an offer. So we just never got to that point in the negotiations.”"
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Paxton is fresh off an injury-riddled campaign where he made just five starts for the New York Yankees last season posting a 6.64 earned run average. That no doubt affected his value on the open market, however, when healthy, Paxton can pitch near the top of the rotation and would have complimented Hyun Jin Ryu nicely in Toronto.
In 2019, Paxton went 15-6 with a 3.82 earned run average with a 2.4 WAR in 29 starts for the Bronx Bombers. The Canuck sports a career 3.58 earned run average in eight MLB seasons with the Yankees and Mariners.
Toronto once selected Paxton with the 37th overall pick in the first round of the 2009 amateur daft but they were unable to agree on a contract. The issue snowballed into allegations of NCAA violations as agent Scott Boras was front and centre for the ordeal. More than a decade later, it is obviously water under the bridge with a new brain trust in place for Toronto.
As it currently stands, the Blue Jays emptied their allotted spending budget on position players foregoing an opportunity to solidify the rotation. They could still be jockeying for a bargain contract with Jake Odorizzi or Taijuan Walker but that remains to be seen.
It takes two to tango and unfortunately the Blue Jays were unwilling to tango with Paxton even though he would have reciprocated, for the right price, of course.