James Paxton Rumors: Astros Interested in Trading for Mariners SP

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2018

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton works against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
John Froschauer/Associated Press

The Houston Astros and New York Yankees are reportedly among the teams interested in trading for Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who noted the market for Paxton is "active."

Paxton, 30, went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and 1.10 WHIP last season. He struck out 208 batters in 160.1 innings, setting a career high with 11.68 strikeouts per nine innings.

The Astros and Yankees are expected to be among the most active teams in the pitching market this winter. Houston, which has boasted one of the most impressive rotations in baseball over the last few years, is  looking vulnerable due to Lance McCullers' impending Tommy John surgery and Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton hitting the free-agent market.

Adding Paxton would help solidify the rotation, as general manager Jeff Luhnow said the team plans on returning Collin McHugh to a starter's role in 2019. 

"I’d say we have three spots fairly well locked up, if we choose to go down the path of putting (Collin) McHugh back in the rotation. With Lance not being there, it probably increases the odds of that happening," Luhnow told reporters.

The Yankees boast perhaps the best lineup in baseball but have major questions in their rotation. General manager Brian Cashman has been open about wanting to acquire multiple starting pitchers this winter, and the Yankees' one-year deal with C.C. Sabathia should set the stage for a couple big splashes. Sabathia will slot in the back half of the rotation and will be joined by the returning Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka.

That leaves guys like Paxton and Corey Kluber as potential trade targets in New York. The Yankees may also target free agent Patrick Corbin. 

Paxton has been among the best pitchers in the American League when healthy but has had trouble staying on the mound. He has never started more than 28 games in a season.