Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays avoid trouble with James Paxton heading to the injured list

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 06: James Paxton #44 of the Seattle Mariners pauses for an injury in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at T-Mobile Park on April 06, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 06: James Paxton #44 of the Seattle Mariners pauses for an injury in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at T-Mobile Park on April 06, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays were busy this past off-season, signing George Springer, Kirby Yates, Tyler Chatwood, and Marcus Semien to various deals before Spring Training rolled around. While Yates won’t play this season as he just underwent Tommy John surgery, it appears that the Blue Jays have avoided another potential injury case given the recent news.

James Paxton, a left-hander pitcher from Ladner, British Columbia, was one of the veteran free agent pitching targets that were high on quite a few team’s boards this off-season. After spending the past two seasons with the New York Yankees, the Canadian native would re-sign with the Seattle Mariners on a one-year deal, the same team that drafted him back in 2010. For his career, Paxton owns a 3.59 ERA over 137 games, racking up 831 strikeouts, 231 walks, and a 1.212 WHIP over 754.2 innings of work.

In his first game since re-joining the Mariners, Paxton was forced to leave in the second inning of his start, with the recent reports stating that he is recommended to undergo Tommy John surgery. For Paxton and the Mariners, this is a pretty harsh blow as the left-hander has been injury-prone over his nine years in the major leagues, but not to this extreme of an injury. He will most likely undergo the surgery (most players do when recommended), so he will be sidelined for at least this season and most likely the first half of next year.

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In regards to the Blue Jays, the front office was interested in Paxton’s services this off-season but never formally made a contract offer to the 6’4 southpaw. This was a bit surprising for fans considering one of the roster’s weaker points is their starting rotation, with a lot of uncertainty behind ace Hyun-Jin Ryu to begin the year. Overall, the Blue Jays would go on to add Robbie Ray and Steven Matz (via trade) to the starting rotation this past off-season, opting to let other free agents like Paxton sign with other organizations.

While seeing someone like Paxton undergo major surgery is not a pleasant sight, one wonders if the Blue Jays front office were worried about his health considering they didn’t offer him a contract during the off-season. Nobody can obviously predict that a player will tear their UCL, but the Blue Jays did dodge a bullet by deciding to not sign Paxton.

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Here is to a speedy recovery for James Paxton and that he can return to form when he is healthy sometime next season.

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