The New York Yankees today announced that they have acquired LHP James Paxton from Seattle in exchange for LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson and OF Dom Thompson-Williams.
Paxton, 30, went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA (160.1IP, 134H, 67ER, 42BB, 208K, 23HR) in 28 starts with Seattle in 2018, setting career highs in innings pitched and collecting the first 200-strikeout season of his career. He had eight starts with at least 10 strikeouts, tied for sixth-most in the Majors. Among American Leaguers with at least 150.0IP, his 3.27 FIP was ninth-lowest.
On May 8 at Toronto, Paxton threw the first no-hitter of his career (9.0IP, 3BB, 7K) and the sixth in Mariners history (five by individual pitchers and one combined no-hitter). A native of Ladner, British Columbia, Paxton joined the 1945 Philadelphia A’s Dick Fowler as the only two Canada-born pitchers to throw a no-hitter. The start immediately followed an outing in which he struck out a career-high 16 batters in 7.0IP on May 2 vs. Oakland.
Over parts of six Major League seasons with the Mariners (2013-18), Paxton has gone 41-26 with a 3.42 ERA (582.1IP, 523H, 244R/221ER, 168BB, 617K, 54HR) in 102 starts, posting a sub-4.00 ERA in each of those six seasons. Among American League pitchers with at least 500.0IP since the start of 2013, his 3.42 ERA ranks seventh, while his 3.11 FIP is fourth-lowest in the AL over the span.
In 2017, Paxton was named Mariners “Pitcher of the Year” by the Seattle chapter of the BBWAA after going 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA (136.0IP, 45ER) and 156K in 24 starts. He was named AL “Pitcher of the Month” in July after posting a 6-0 record with a 1.37 ERA (39.1IP, 25H, 6ER, 6BB, 46K) in six starts that month, while becoming the first Mariner in team history to win six games in a calendar month.
Paxton was selected by the Mariners in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Kentucky. He will become the eighth Canada-born pitcher to appear in a game for the Yankees and first since LHP Jeff Francis and RHP Chris Leroux pitched for the club in 2014.
Sheffield, 22, made his Major League debut with the Yankees in 2018, posting a 10.13 ERA (2.2IP, 4H, 3ER, 3BB, 1HR) in three relief appearances. In 25 combined games (20 starts) with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he went 7-6 with a 2.48 ERA (116.0IP, 82H, 37R/32ER, 50BB, 123K, 4HR). Originally a first round selection (31st overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft by Cleveland, Sheffield was acquired by the Yankees on July 31, 2016, with OF Clint Frazier, RHP Ben Heller and RHP J.P. Feyereisen in exchange for LHP Andrew Miller.
Swanson, 25, was 8-2 with a 2.66 ERA (121.2IP, 93H, 38R/36ER, 29BB, 139K, 10HR) in 24 games (22 starts) across three levels in 2018. He made eight appearances (seven starts) with Double-A Trenton, 14 appearances (13 starts) with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and two rehab starts with short-season Single-A Staten Island. Swanson was selected by Texas in the eighth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and traded to the Yankees along with two other players in exchange for OF Carlos Beltrán on August 1, 2016.
Thompson-Williams, 23, hit .299/.363/.546 (110-for-368) with 63R, 17 doubles, 4 triples, an organization-high 22HR, 74RBI, 33BB and 20SB in 100 combined games with Single-A Charleston and Single-A Tampa in 2018. Originally selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft, Thompson-Williams attended the University of South Carolina.