Trade Target #1: LHP James Paxton
One of the more notable rumors to emerge this offseason, James Paxton will surely command loads of attention from numerous clubs. Contenders like the Yankees along with others are also mentioned as potential suitors.
The fit is evident if the Mariners are serious about a rebuild. Paxton would automatically entrench himself as the Astros’ number three starter and replace Dallas Keuchel as the staff’s key southpaw. But there is doubt whether the Mariners would entertain a trade offer from a division rival.
An above-average pitcher since his breakout season in 2016, the left-hander had another solid performance in 2018.
2018 stats: 160 1/3 IP, 3.76 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 39.6% GB%, 32.3% K%, 6.5% BB%
While I wouldn’t consider Paxton a true ace, he is definitely a talented pitcher with a fastball that averages in mid-nineties. He would fit in nicely along Verlander and Cole in Houston’s rotation. However, Paxton did experience a notable jump in home runs as his HR/9 rose from 0.60 in 2017 to 1.29 this year. Probably a temporary blip, but it does explain why Paxton posted the second-highest ERA in his major league career.
With two more years of club control though, Seattle is likely to ask for a decent prospect package in return. I’d doubt if Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley enter the negotiations, but I wouldn’t exclude anyone else.