3 Mets pitching targets they could sign to one-year deals

There are plenty of bounce-back candidates this free agency period.

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2. James Paxton

James Paxton has always shown flashes of ace-caliber potential but has never sustained it for a full season. In his first 7 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Paxton pitched to a 3.42 ERA in 103 starts and 583.2 innings pitched. He was dealt to the New York Yankees before the 2019 season, where he found success pitching to a 3.82 ERA in 150.2 innings including 2 solid postseason performances. 

Since then, however, Paxton has not pitched anywhere close to a full season. He has made 25 starts since 2020, pitching to a 4.90 ERA between the Yankees, Mariners, and Boston Red Sox. His only impressive statistic is 9.9 K/9 and only walked 41 batters during this span. Otherwise, Paxton has been a liability to remain healthy but showed flashes last season that he can still be quality.

Paxton is a candidate for a one-year contract most likely for less than what Luis Severino received in $13 million. An ideal contract would have performance incentive bonuses for innings pitched and starts. This would be like Michael Wacha's $3 million base salary in 2020 with incentives for innings pitched had 2020 been a 162-game season. It is worth exploring if Paxton could be a swing starter at this point in his career and his injury history. There have been success stories such as Mike Minor in finding a late-career role as a starter/reliever.