Toronto Blue Jays showing interest in free agent starter James Paxton

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

Toronto Blue Jays eyeing Canadian James Paxton as reclamation project

James Paxton is coming off the worst season of his professional baseball career after struggling to fight through an array of injuries. But that doesn’t seem to be deterring the Toronto Blue Jays from looking at taking a chance at adding a potential quality starter to the rotation.

Paxton made just five starts in 2020, posting a 6.64 ERA in 20 innings. And the timing couldn’t have been worse, as he hit free agency for the first time and was lined up for a pretty nice payday. But according to Jon Heyman, that won’t stop the Blue Jays from trying to bring Paxton back to his native country.

Paxton is looking for a one-year “prove it” deal. He needs to show the league that despite his injury history, he can still be a frontline starting pitcher.

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What better team to do that with than the Blue Jays? Toronto is putting together a really dangerous offensive lineup. After spending years building their young core, they’re ready to start competing in a depleted AL East. Following the 2019 season, they signed Hyun-jin Ryu to be their ace. This offseason, they added George Springer as the face of their offense.

The only thing they need is pitching depth. And Paxton could give them exactly what they’re looking for on an affordable one-year deal.

Before his injury-plagued 2020 season, Paxton had established himself as one of the better pitchers in the league. He made at least 20 starts each season from 2016-19 and posted an ERA under 4.00 in every one of them. He racks up strikeouts from the left side, relying mostly on his exceptional fastball, which he throws over 50 percent of the time.

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This is a perfect match in Paxton and the Blue Jays. Paxton is trying to prove he’s still the pitcher worthy of a big deal. The Blue Jays are trying to return to the playoffs in a weak division. They can help each other with a one year deal, and reconnect following the 2021 season if it’s a successful run.