Why you may ask, do the Seattle Mariners need to trade James Paxton? He’s very important to the future, you say? He’s an important part of the Mariners future big three?
Is he really? Think about it. Paxton has the least potential out of the big three (Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker being the other two), and he is the oldest of the three. Felix Hernandez is only 26, and he is just about finished on his new five-year extension that will make Hernandez the highest-paid pitcher in baseball, and as close to a Mariner for life as your going to get at 26.
With Hultzen likely up late this year and Walker up in 2014, the Mariners rotation would be Hernandez first, Hultzen second, Walker third and then maybe Erasmo Ramirez and another current prospect like Andrew Carraway. Paxton mixed with another prospect could bring back a major league hitter with more than just one year of control like everyone they picked up this year.
If the Mariners really want to contend over the next few years, they should really look into getting a young hitter that they have team control over. I understand that the Mariners have Mike Zunino, who will probably be ready late in 2013, and guys like Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley who will just keep getting experience, but none of them are superstars (Zunino might be).
The Mariners tried to make a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks a couple weeks ago for Justin Upton, but I’m okay the Upton rejected it. I’m a little annoyed that the M’s were one of four teams Upton specified for his no-trade clause, but the offer was way too much.
If you don’t know, Seattle’s offer was Walker, Nick Franklin, Stephen Pryor and Charlie Furbush. For just Upton, that was way, way too much. Maybe replace Walker with Paxton and take out Furbush and I would be okay with it, but the Mariners do need Walker for the sake of their future.
Something good to take out of that rejected trade, though, is that the Mariners tried. They are thinking in these types of terms. A couple possible ideas for guys who the Mariners could realistically try for are Chase Headley from the San Diago Padres, where he has already proven that he can hit in a pitcher’s park, or maybe Josh Willingham from the Minnesota Twins, where he has also proven the ability to hit in a pitchers paradise.
The point is that there are guys out there on teams who should be looking for young pitchers like Paxton, and would be willing to give up a good bat for him and another guy. Would it be nice to have a rotation of Hernandez, Walker, Hultzen and Paxton? Yes, but is that better than having the first three plus the first legitimate number-three hitter that the Mariners have had in years? Not even close.