Paxton reportedly back to Mariners

February 14th, 2021

's second season with the Yankees did not go as well as his first (3.82 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 11.1 K/9 in 150 2/3 IP), because the injury-prone southpaw again dealt with various ailments -- including back surgery last winter and a left flexor tendon strain during the season -- that limited him to five starts (20 1/3 IP). Paxton's strikeout stuff holds appeal, but teams will be wary of his durability.

Below is a list of the latest news and rumors on the left-hander, who turned 32 on Nov. 6.

Source: Paxton back to Mariners

Feb. 13: Paxton is reuniting with the Mariners on a one-year, $8.5 million deal, a source told's Mark Feinsand. Feinsand added that the contract will include $1.5 million in incentives that could push the total value to $10 million. The club has not confirmed.

The 32-year-old left-hander pitched for the Mariners from 2013-18, establishing himself as one of the best left-handed starters in the game. He posted a 3.42 ERA over 102 starts during that period. Seattle traded him to the Yankees prior to the 2019 campaign, and in his first season in the Bronx, Paxton had a 3.82 ERA over 29 starts. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, he only made five starts (6.64 ERA) before being sidelined with a left forearm injury. More >

Will Mets pivot to Paxton?

Feb. 5: The Mets were a finalist for free agent Trevor Bauer, but the right-hander decided to join the Dodgers on a three-year deal Friday. With Bauer off the board, it will be interesting to see what New York does next.

The Mets might be content to head into the season with Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi in their rotation while awaiting the return of Noah Syndergaard from Tommy John surgery.

But if they still want to add another starter, Paxton could make sense. He has experience pitching in New York after spending the past two seasons with the Yankees.

The 32-year-old southpaw is one of the best remaining free-agent starters, along with Jake Odorizzi and Taijuan Walker. The Mets were linked to Odorizzi earlier this offseason, but SNY’s Andy Martino reports that the club hasn't shown interest in Odorizzi (or Walker) recently.

Phillies, Cardinals ‘actively looking’ at FA starters

Feb. 4: The Phillies and Cardinals are “actively looking” for a starting pitcher, sources told’s Mark Feinsand, who notes that both teams are considering hurlers from the second tier of free-agent starters.

After Trevor Bauer, the best remaining starters are Paxton, Jake Odorizzi and Taijuan Walker. Other notable players on the market include Rich Hill, Cole Hamels, Jake Arrieta, Homer Bailey, Aníbal Sánchez and Mike Fiers.

The Phillies signed left-hander Matt Moore, who spent last season in Japan, to a one-year, $3 million contract Wednesday. The club also reached a one-year, $4 million deal with right-hander Chase Anderson, a source told

However, both pitchers are back-of-the-rotation types. Moore recorded a 5.13 ERA for the Rays, Giants, Rangers and Tigers from 2015-19, and Anderson had a 7.22 ERA over 33 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays last season. The righty owns a career 4.06 ERA.

Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler give Philadelphia a strong duo at the top of its rotation, and Zach Eflin could be a quality No. 3 starter if he can duplicate last season’s career-best 28.6% strikeout rate. But the rest of the club’s options, which include Moore, Anderson, Vince Velasquez and Spencer Howard (MLB’s No. 42 prospect), are suspect.

St. Louis, meanwhile, is riding high after trading for third baseman Nolan Arenado, but the team’s rotation could use some help behind ace Jack Flaherty.

The Cardinals re-signed Adam Wainwright after the righty posted a 3.15 ERA in 2020, but he is now 39 years old. Following Wainwright is Miles Mikolas, who missed all of last season with a forearm strain. No. 4 starter Kwang Hyun Kim recorded a 1.62 ERA as a rookie last season, but he’s likely headed for significant regression unless he can boost his 15.6% strikeout rate. 

For the fifth spot, the club is expected to hold a Spring Training competition between Carlos Martínez, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Alex Reyes and John Gant.

Report: Blue Jays eyeing Paxton

Jan. 22: After reaching deals with center fielder George Springer and closer Kirby Yates earlier this week, the Blue Jays continue to shop. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the club is still looking for a starting pitcher and has Paxton on its radar.

Paxton, a Canada native, dealt with injuries in 2020, undergoing back surgery in February and suffering a strained flexor tendon in his left forearm during the campaign. He made just five starts, posting a 6.64 ERA over 20 1/3 innings while displaying diminished velocity.

Injuries have been a persistent problem for Paxton, who has never made more than 29 starts or thrown more than 160 1/3 innings in a season. But the 32-year-old has recorded a career 3.58 ERA with a 9.9 K/9 rate.

Giants looking for southpaws -- could Paxton fit?

Jan. 12: Paxton's market continues to be quiet, but there might be an opportunity opening up for him by the Bay. Giants general manager Scott Harris told's Jon Paul Morosi on MLB Network Radio on Tuesday that his club seeks a lefty starter to augment its rotation.

The Giants' projected 2021 rotation currently includes right-handers Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto, Anthony DeSclafani, Logan Webb and Shaun Anderson, and so that group could certainly use a southpaw to mix it up. Scott and San Francisco president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi have been open to fliers on pitchers coming off down years and injuries before, notably fostering lefty Drew Smyly to a big free-agent payday this offseason.

Could Paxton be bound for NL West?

Dec. 26:'s Anthony Castrovince sums up the best fits for each remaining free agent from the top 25, doling out only one free agent per team. He highlights the San Diego and Paxton as a great fit, given the Padres' need for pitching and uncertainty surrounding some of their current starters, like Dinelson Lamet. Paxton could be a great way to remedy the rotation's loss of Mike Clevinger for the year. And since he's on the heels of his own injury issues, Paxton might be motivated to take a one-year deal to prove himself, which would fit the Padres' roster well.

Source: Paxton throws for as many as 20 teams

Dec. 22: After undergoing back surgery in February and suffering a flexor strain during the season that limited him to five starts, Paxton is back on the mound. A source told’s Jon Paul Morosi that the left-hander hit 94 mph on the radar gun during a throwing session that was attended by scouts from as many as 20 teams.

Paxton averaged 92.1 mph with his four-seam fastball in 2020, down from 95.4 mph the previous season.

Staying on the field has been a problem for the lefty, who has never reached the 30-start plateau in a single season. However, he has typically been a strong rotation option, when healthy.

Before posting a 6.62 ERA this past season, the 32-year-old had a 3.50 ERA from 2013-19. His K/9 since 2017 is 11.1, giving him considerable upside as a free agent.