A homecoming that didn’t, and wouldn’t have worked out
I don’t feel good about writing the first one here, but the truth is, the Blue Jays would have regretted signing James Paxton this year even if it would have been great to finally bring the big southpaw home to Canadian soil.
Unfortunately injuries have really taken a toll on the 32-year-old throughout his career, especially in more recent years as he’s dealt with back issues. Unfortunately this time around it was a left forearm strain that eventually turned into the need for Tommy John surgery, meaning he likely won’t make a return to the mound until sometime in the middle of the 2022 campaign. It was very disappointing news for the Seattle Mariners and their fan base, as there was a lot of excitement about the return of the “Big Maple”, who started his career with the club and spent his first six seasons there.
It’s hard to know how serious the Blue Jays were about signing Paxton, but the link between the two parties was pretty consistent, even if that just came from the fan base and speculation from writers. He eventually signed a one-year, 8.5 million dollar deal with his old team, and something tells me the Blue Jays would have had to beat that figure. Even if it looked like a bargain at the time, unfortunately the Mariners won’t get any return for their investment, at least in 2021.
For the Blue Jays who spent a lot of money in other spots, that 8.5 million could have been the difference between being able to add a starter at the deadline, or being tapped out financially. There was a lot of talk about how Atkins might have to save some budget room for the deadline as long as the Blue Jays are in the hunt for a playoff spot, and in this case it was money well saved.