The Yankees traded for James Paxton on Monday.They aren't done upgrading their rotation yet.Even after acquiring Paxton, an All-Star-caliber left-hander, Yankees officials plan to add one more prominent starter this offseason, one source said Monday evening.Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ are among the free agents in whom the Yankees remain
The Yankees traded for James Paxton on Monday.
They aren't done upgrading their rotation yet.
Even after acquiring Paxton, an All-Star-caliber left-hander, Yankees officials plan to add one more prominent starter this offseason, one source said Monday evening.
Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ are among the free agents in whom the Yankees remain interested, sources say. Both are familiar with the franchise: Corbin is from upstate New York and grew up as a Yankees fan; Happ went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Yankees this year following a midseason trade with Toronto.
At present, the Yankees' rotation depth chart includes Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Carsten Sabathia and Sonny Gray, although Gray is widely expected to be traded in the coming days. The Reds and A's are among the teams that have shown interest in Gray.
The Yankees also remain involved in the marketplace for high-end position players, although sources say the addition of Manny Machado or Bryce Harper is less of a priority than augmenting the rotation.
The Yankees have had internal discussions since the offseason began about the possibility of signing Harper to play first base, but one source described that scenario as "unrealistic" -- at least, for now. The Yankees believe Machado is a better fit for their roster, given the absence of starting shortstop Didi Gregorius while he recovers from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.
The Yankees' interest in acquiring a veteran shortstop was evident during their trade talks with the Mariners. One source said they also asked Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto about the availability of Jean Segura, a two-time All-Star who has batted .300 in each of the past three seasons. Eventually, the teams agreed to center the trade on Paxton alone.
Injuries are the only obstacle between Paxton and status among the game's elite starting pitchers. He has surpassed 150 innings in a Major League season only once since his 2013 debut. Still, he ranks fourth in Fielding Independent Pitching among all pitchers to throw at least 400 innings over the last three seasons, with his 2.90 ranking behind only Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom.
The Astros were among the teams that spoke with the Mariners about Paxton, one source said, although it's likely they would have had to make an extraordinary offer in order for Dipoto to trade Paxton within the American League West. Once the Astros refused to include pitching prospect Forrest Whitley in their final offer, the Mariners accepted the Yankees' proposal, headlined by left-hander Justus Sheffield.
Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.