Red Sox: Free-agent targets Boston needs to be contenders in 2021
James Paxton is a match made in heaven for the Red Sox
What could possibly be better than stealing from the Yankees? Stealing a former star with something to prove. James Paxton’s time in New York went horribly, seeing the pitcher only take the mound for 171 innings over two years while carrying a 4.16 ERA. Paxton is 31 years of age, but not too long ago he was considered one of the most dominant pitchers in the American League.
Boasting a career ERA of 3.58, the Canadian southpaw nicknamed Big Maple could be just what the Red Sox need right now not only to help boost the horrendous starting pitching staff of last season, but also help fill the shoes of Chris Sale while he continues to rehab into next season.
Paxton is not just a random bounce-back candidate that I threw in here for Boston, because if that was the case you would probably see Massachusetts native and Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber on this list. However, Paxton has presented Boston with the perfect opportunity to go out and get him, where it has been reported he could be willing to go somewhere for one year for between $8 million to $10 million. He is determined to prove he still has it, and Boston is the place to prove it.
What makes Paxton especially interesting, strangely enough, is the success of former Yankees pitcher Sonny Gray. Gray saw his average ERA of 3.42 get obliterated in New York, where his ERA was 4.51. After leaving New York for Cincinnati, Gray has had an ERA of 3.07, entering himself even into the Cy Young conversation both years.
Am I saying Paxton is guaranteed to pull off a Sonny Gray? Of course not, but given his circumstance along with New York’s hitter-friendly ballpark and short porch, Paxton could be the next ex-Yankee starting pitcher to turn his career around. How sweet would that be if he could do it right in New York’s face not just in the AL East, but with the Yankee’sf arch rivals?