James Paxton is traded to the Yankees
Well, it happened. James Paxton was the first big domino to fall this winter, and of course he ends up on the Yankees. The Red Sox’ biggest rival came into this offseason looking for pitching, pitching and more pitching, and they’ve traded for what will likely be the best arm on the trade market. The Mariners lefty certainly has his warts, as Red Sox fans will be quick to point out. He can be liable to allow some hard contact, for one thing. For another, he doesn’t exactly have a long track record of holding up over entire seasons. In fact, the 2018 season was a new career high for him in innings, and that was only 160 over the course of the year. That said, this is still a very talented left-handed pitcher, and those gave the Red Sox fits last year. (Though, to be fair, they did hit Paxton pretty well.) This is certainly not me saying the Red Sox are now screwed or anything like that, but this does make the Yankees better. Personally, I don’t like it when the Yankees get better. To get Paxton New York gave up a package of three prospects led by their top minor leaguer in Justus Sheffield.
The Hall of Fame Ballot is out
I’m going to level with you. I hate Hall of Fame season. I hate the way people disparage good players to try and make their points. I hate the way everyone thinks their theoretical ballot is the only correct one. Most of all, I hate the way voters have decided the era in which I grew up and the era that made me fall in love with the game is invalid. Unfortunately for me, as a person who follows this game on a daily basis, I can’t really avoid the season. On Monday, this year’s ballot was revealed, which you can see in its entirety here. This year, there are two slam dunk first-ballot names on the board with Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay. In addition to them, I guess I’d vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield and Andruw Jones. Among first-timers, old friends Derek Lowe, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay also join the ballot.
Nationals sign Kurt Suzuki
The catching market has started to move, and the Nationals were the team to get it started. Washington has been rumored to be looking at catchers for a while now, and they were hoping to get in on the J.T. Realmuto talks. It turns out Miami probably isn’t trading him in the division, so they set their sights a little lower. On Monday, Washington inked Kurt Suzuki to a two-year deal. As far as I can tell, the financials have not been released yet. Suzuki has had a late-career revival at the plate with the Braves, but at 35 years old he’s no guarantee he can keep this up. Still, I can’t imagine the money will be too huge and this is likely a good deal for Washington. For those who wanted the Red Sox to look at new catchers, this was a solid, cheap option and now it’s off the board.