Three SF Giants Left-Handed Starting Pitcher Targets:
1. James Paxton
James Paxton is a tall, nasty lefty who has spent his entire career in the American League. He spent his first six seasons with the Seattle Mariners before he was traded to the New York Yankees, where he spent the last two seasons.
Paxton has a fastball that has previously touched the upper-90s in mph with a cutter and a sharp-breaking knuckle-curve. His velocity has dropped quite a bit over the years, but his secondary pitches have remained strong enough to be dominant anyway. His deadly repertoire gets a lot of strikeouts and would bolster the Giants’ rotation.
Looking at some of his statistics before 2020, he has been downright impressive. In 2019 with the Yankees, he had a 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts. He also recorded a filthy 186 strikeouts in just 150.2 innings pitched, demonstrating that he is very skilled at getting batters to swing and miss with his electric stuff.
He was excellent in his last two seasons with Seattle as well. In 2017 he went 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA, and 156 strikeouts in 136 innings pitched. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA, and 208 strikeouts in 160 innings pitched.
However, 2020 was a struggle for Paxton. He only made five starts for the Yankees before a flexor strain in his left forearm landed him on the IL for the rest of the season. Injuries have been a problem for him his whole career as he has never made a full 32 starts in a season. Even with his track-record of dominance, it’s difficult to commit too heavily to a pitcher with so many injury red flags.
MLB Trade Rumors predicts that Paxton will sign a one-year, $10 million deal with the Chicago White Sox. Paxton obviously comes with a fair deal of risks given his injury history, but the upside is very enticing for many teams if he is healthy and dealing.