Even though we’re three weeks or so from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring-training sites, a number of notable free agents and potential trade targets remain available. That, in turn, means an ongoing supply of daily rumors. Speaking of which, Tuesday’s supply is just below.
Dodgers close with Paxton
No team has been as active as the Dodgers this offseason, as the NL West juggernaut has already added to the fold the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, and Teoscar Hernández to an already star-stuffed roster. They may not be done.
As originally reported by Chad Dey and confirmed by Fabian Ardaya, the Dodgers are close to adding veteran lefty starter James Paxton to bolster the back-end of the rotation. Paxton, 35, is coming off a solid season of 19 starts with the Red Sox in 2023. Coming into this offseason, CBS Sports ranked Paxton as the No. 38 available free agent. Here’s part of our write-up:
“You know what you’re getting with Paxton. Or, at least, you know what you’re not getting: a full slate of starts. He threw 96 innings in 2023, his most since the 2019 campaign. In the three years between those seasons, he notched a total of 21 2/3 frames. Paxton nevertheless pitched well when he was able to contribute. His fastball still sits in the mid-90s, and it plays faster thanks to a deep release point. He also has a pair of secondary offerings, in his curve and cutter, that he could probably stand to throw more often. Different teams have different appetites for risk, making Paxton difficult to rank. We’re putting him here because we think his upside will help him clear some with higher floors.”
Given that Ohtani won’t pitch this year, Yamamoto will be making his MLB debut, Glasnow has a substantial injury history, and Walker Buehler will be making his return from Tommy John surgery, additional depth is probably needed. That’s especially the case given that the back end right now is pinned down by somewhat unproven youngsters Bobby Miller and Emmet Sheehan. Paxton would alleviate those concerns somewhat.
Astros seeking lefty outfield bat
Houston has added Josh Hader as closer and Victor Caratini as depth behind the plate, and now they’re looking to add an outfielder who bats lefty. General manager Dana Brown recently told reporters as much:
In some ways, this would be in response to the recent retirement of veteran batsman Michael Brantley. Peruse the roster, and you’ll find that center field may be the Astros’ biggest current uncertainty, and a lefty bat at that position would pair well with righty-swinging Jake Meyers in a platoon arrangement. Top remaining free agent Cody Bellinger would obviously be a perfect fit, but it’s highly unlikely that Houston is open to paying the going rates for him.