The Los Angeles Dodgers Are Signing Free Agent Starting Pitcher James Paxton For One Year

James Paxton to sign with Dodgers

On Monday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to sign free agent starting pitcher James Paxton to a one-year contract, according to sources who confirmed several reports. Paxton’s agreement, which is still pending a physical test, would pay him around $11 million in guaranteed money, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

Paxton, a 35-year-old left-hander with a checkered injury history, made only six starts from 2020 to 2022 after undergoing herniated disc repair, cyst removal, and Tommy John surgery. Paxton returned in May 2023, over 25 months after his elbow surgery, and finished 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 starts for the Boston Red Sox, striking out 101 and walking 33 in 96 innings.

Paxton had a 2.73 ERA in 10 first-half appearances but a 6.98 ERA in nine second-half outings, forcing him to miss nearly the whole month of September due to knee soreness.

Paxton would join a star-studded Dodgers rotation that had been entirely rebuilt over the summer, including Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, Walker Buehler, and Bobby Miller, with Emmet Sheehan, Michael Grove, and Gavin Stone all in the mix. Dustin May, who is returning from flexor tendon surgery, is also anticipated to be available this season.

The Dodgers have spent over $1.07 billion this offseason on free agents Shohei Ohtani, Yamamoto, Teoscar Hernandez, Jason Heyward, and Paxton, with virtually all of Ohtani’s contract postponed. They also traded for Glasnow and outfielder Manuel Margot, and then signed him to a five-year, $136.6 million contract deal.

The Dodgers’ depth is impressive, but the question marks in their rotation are noticeable. Buehler is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery and will very certainly pitch limited in innings during the 2024 season, whilst Glasnow will most likely be closely monitored after having Tommy John surgery in 2022.

Yamamoto, on the other hand, is from Japan, where he grew up pitching in a six-man rotation. While the Dodgers are unlikely to use six full-time starters, their increased depth may allow Yamamoto to start on five days’ rest during periods with no off days.

The Dodgers haven’t ruled out a comeback for Clayton Kershaw, although he had offseason shoulder surgery and won’t be available until probably August. Ohtani will not be ready to pitch until 2025.

Paxton, who is from British Columbia, was extremely durable and productive with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees from 2017 to 2019, making 81 starts, having a 3.54 ERA, and striking out 11.1 hitters per nine innings.

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