With a few holes in the rotation left to fill heading into the 2021 season, the New York Mets should consider signing free agent starting pitcher James Paxton.
The New York Mets have had a big week to start the offseason, with the biggest news being the official sale of the team to Billionaire Mets fan Steve Cohen.
The team also made a few smaller moves thus far this offseason, such as declining to bring back starting catcher Wilson Ramos, and relievers Brad Brach and Dellin Betances exercising their options to return for 2021.
However, the sale of the team to Cohen is one of the biggest stories in baseball, as the New York Mets now have the wealthiest owner in the MLB, and with it brings the expectation of more activity in terms of free agent signings.
More from Rising Apple
- NY Mets Monday Morning GM: The middle is no place you want to be
- NY Mets News: Marcus Stroman sees “potential fit” with the Angels
- NY Mets were too “seek” and not enough “destroy” last winter
- NY Mets: 1 trade target to consider from each 100-loss team
- NY Mets: Top 12 free agents the team should look to sign this winter
Mets fans are already rampant with speculation that the team will “break the bank” and go after blue chip players, the Mets do still need to spend their money wisely and where it is needed most. One of the biggest holes to fill heading into 2021 is at Starting Pitcher.
While there is much debate as to which players, in particular, the Mets should pursue, in my humble belief, one of their best options on the market is southpaw James Paxton.
Paxton has certainly been an interesting player to watch since his debut in 2013. The hard-throwing left-hander made his debut for the Seattle Mariners at 24 years old, and over 6 seasons with the club, he started 102 games while recording a 3.42 ERA.
The best start of his career came during the 2018 season, where he threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on just 99 pitches.
With a fastball regularly hitting the high 90s and some solid breaking pitches, Paxton quickly became one of the anchors of the Mariners rotation, that is until the 2018-19 offseason when he was traded to the New York Yankees.
Paxton pitched very admirably during his first season in New York in 2019, going 15-6 over 29 starts with a 3.82 ERA. He continued to be effective for the Yankees in the postseason that year, going 1-0 while logging a 3.46 ERA in 3 starts.
The Covid-19 shorted 2020 season did not go as well for him, as Paxton missed the start of the season in July recovering from a minor surgery, and when he returned to the team, he logged an abysmal 6.64 ERA over 5 starts.
Paxton is hitting free agency for the first time in his career at 31 years old, and while last season was a wash, I do not think his success and consistency over the previous 7 years should be discounted because of 5 bad starts.
As his career statistics back up, Paxton is one of the top left-handed starting pitchers in baseball today, and he has some very dangerous pitches in his arsenal, particularly, his high-velocity fastball. If the Mets were to bring him in, along with their current pieces, he’d round out the rotation nicely.
He may be a bit pricier than some of the other players on the market, but if he pitches the way he did over his first 7 years in the league, the Mets should get a good return on their investment.
Heading into 2021, the Mets rotation appears to have three of its five spots filled, with Jacob deGrom cemented as the teams ace, Noah Syndergaard returning after missing 2020 with Tommy John Surgery, and rookie David Peterson likely remaining in the rotation going forward after an impressive debut season.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
The Mets also extended Marcus Stroman a qualifying offer, and if he were to accept it and the Mets bring in Paxton on top of that, they’ll be heading into 2021 with one of the most formidable starting rotations in baseball.