New York Yankees: James Paxton showcases his velocity for MLB teams

Free agent pitcher James Paxton. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Free agent pitcher James Paxton. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

A market may begin to develop for former New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton after a recent throwing session for MLB teams.

While the offseason has been a bit slow to develop in terms of notable free agent signings, most of the bigger names on the market have at least been connected to a team or two as the rumor mill swirls. That hasn’t been the case for former New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton.

Despite an impressive resume over the course of his eight MLB seasons, the market remains very quiet for James Paxton, which is sort of expected after the now 32-year-old made just five starts in 2020 due to a strained flexor tendon, and his recovery from spinal surgery in early-February.

Perhaps, a recent bullpen session will help jump-start the interest in The Big Maple.

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According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, Paxton threw in front of about 20 teams, reaching 94 mph during his throwing session.

It’s not the commanding velocity that James Paxton once showcased in the majors, making him one of the hardest-throwing lefties in baseball, but it is slightly promising after Paxton averaged just 92 mph on his fastball in 2020.

Paxton has averaged 95-96 mph for the majority of his career, regularly throwing 98-99 mph heat on the mound.

From 2016-2019, Paxton was worth 15.2 Wins Above Replacement, striking out just under 30% of hitters and posting an ERA no higher than 3.82 in any season. He logged just 20 innings last season, but still struck out 29% of hitters he faced.

Even with over-powering stuff, Paxton has never made more than 30 starts in a season and has topped 160 innings just once in his career (2018), and he’s now attempting to recover from a series of major injuries, while many remain skeptical that he’s fully healthy.

But as risky of a signing as James Paxton would be for any team, he may have one of the higher upsides among the arms available on the market. For a team looking for a fourth or fifth starter to round out their rotation, or a team like the Los Angeles Angels who want to use a six-man rotation in 2021, Paxton would be a smart pickup.

Without showcasing a bit more velocity at his throwing session, the New York Yankees could even find themselves bringing Paxton back in on a low-cost, short-term deal as they look to fill out a starting rotation, currently full of questions, all while looking to spend very little in free agency this winter.

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James Paxton may not be the pitcher he once was, but if he’s healthy heading into 2021, he would be a smart, low-cost pickup for a team in need of pitching help.